COMMERCE 392 – 201, 202
MANAGING THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP
REVIEW QUESTIONS 2011
SECTIONS 1 - 4
I. Introduction to the Employment Relationship
1. What is “strategic human resources management?” (HRM)
2. What are the elements of the HRM balance sheet discussed in class and how do
they relate to achieving good business results?
3. What are the three major contexts of the employment relationship?
• The three contexts of the employment relationship – employment law, unions and
collective bargaining and high performance human resource management practices –
do not exist on their own or in a vacuum
4. Who is responsible for HRM?
5. What environmental conditions & developments affect HRM?
6. What are the key employment trends affecting HRM?
7. How can HRM practices contribute to an employer’s effort to gain a sustained
8. Other than offering job security, what other measures could businesses take to
“boost profits through people?”
II. Legal Regulation of the Employment Relationship
1. What are the various “legal authorities” affecting the employment relationship?
2. What are the variations in “jurisdiction” or coverage of the different legal
3. Which agencies or “adjudicators” are responsible for applying & resolving
disputes in each of these areas?
4. What are the underlying public policy objectives of each of the legal authorities?
5. What are the fundamental elements of the Employment Standards Act?
6. What does “discrimination” mean and what are the “protected” categories or
groups of employees under the Human Rights Code?
• -generally means that he or she is perceived to be acting in an unfair or prejudicial
• -making choices perceived on differences
• -law prohibits unfair discrimination – choices on basis of perceived but inaccurate
differences, to the detriment of specific individuals and/or groups
7. What is the only circumstance under human rights legislation that an employer
would be permitted to discriminate?
• BONA FIDE OCCUPATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
• -permitted to discriminate is meet BFOR
1 • -boutique handling ladies’ apparel requires its salespersons to model the
merchandise, sex is clearly a BFOR
• REASONABLE ACCOMODATION
• -legal principle of accommodation
• -may involve making adjustments to meet needs based on the group to which an
• -no definitive definition
• -depending on the particular circumstances in question
• -financial cost or health and safety risks? Make accommodation impossible?
• -failure to accommodate = violation of the Act
• -duty to accommodate may be related to testing standards (too low vs. too high?)
8. What is the difference between pay equity and employment equity?
• Employment Equity: aimed at identifying and eliminating systemic barriers to
employment opportunities that adversely affect these 4 groups.
• Pay equity: focuses on mechanisms to redress the imbalance in pay between
male-dominated and female-dominated job classes resulting from the
undervaluing of work traditionally performed by women.
• -Employment Equity Act: federal; requires if more than 100 employees to
develop annual plans that set out specific goals to achieve better representation
• -mandatory equity programs are virtually non-existent in provincial/territorial
9. What are the main privacy law principles applying to employers?
Today, while there are a great many all-inclusive industrial and craft – based unions in
existence, the dominant philosophy of labour unions is what's referred to as "business
unionism" or viewing the central purpose of the union as improving wages and other working
conditions through the practice of collective bargaining – certainly not to destroy or
overthrow the enterprises that provide their members with jobs and income.
III. Recruiting, Selecting & Developing Employees
1. What is “job analysis” and why is it so fundamental to staffing decisions?
Today, job analysis is less concerned with machine – like efficiency than it is with
understanding the actual nature of jobs and ensuring consistent valuation of jobs and the best
matching of people and jobs. In practice, the process of job analysis is a very technical one of
collecting information about jobs through interviews of people performing the work,
observation and discussion among those who manage the performance of work. The central
objective of job analysis is to identify the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for
successful performance of a job – its "KSAs." "Knowledge" may refer to anything from a
basic knowledge of the use of hand tools up through the finer points of rocket science.
"Skills" referred to the ability to do certain things associated with the job ranging from
sorting fruit or wood to problem solving a breakdown in relations between nations.
2 "Abilities" refers to more innate or previously developed talents possessed by workers – such
as the ability to learn new procedures or to stay calm under pressure – that are necessary to be
truly successful in performing a particular job.
Job analysis also provides the basis for two important pieces of documentation of jobs: the
job description and the job specification. The job specification is a statement of the
qualifications (such as educational requirements) or experience necessary for the job, it's
duties and responsibilities and where the job sits in reporting relationships to other positions
within the organization. The job specification provides the basis on which job descriptions
can be written. A job description is written to provide potential applicants for a job, as well as
those already performing it, a clear picture of the duties and responsibilities of the job and the
context within which it is carried out. In writing job descriptions, a balance needs to be struck
between specificity and generality in order to allow jobs to be adapted to changing
circumstances and needs. It is not uncommon for job descriptions to conclude with the
statement, "and other duties as assigned."- needs to be revised and updated to give the real
content of the job.
2. What are the essential elements of human resource planning?
As has been stated repeatedly, we are concerned in this course with the linkages between
business strategy and human resources management strategy. If business strategy is all about
having a plan for how the enterprise will compete then human resources strategy is about
planning to maintain a workforce capable of achieving business objectives. To begin with,
workforce planning requires that a database- keep continual record of all the employees
working currently, what their education is how long they worked for, gender, age,
• Keep succession plans and replacement charts so you know which employee may get
promoted and you can start hiring ahead of time.
• Customer service is key, then it is better to be slightly over staff
3. How is a human resource plan used, and what is its potential contribution to