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Chapter 13

HR Chapter 13.doc

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Steve Risavy

Chapter 13: Fair Treatment – The Foundation of Effective Employee Relations Strategic Importance of Effective Employee Relations • Employees are sensitive to the treatment they receive, particularly the perceived fairness of processes used to make decisions that affect them, and to the perceived fairness of the interpersonal treatment they receive at work • for competitive advantage, employees must be motivated and engaged in pursuing organizational goals • establish programs to foster commitment • ensure employees are treated ethically, fairly, and legally Building Two-Way Communication • an employer must be careful to avoid “negligent misrepresentation” • employer can be found liable of negligent misrepresentation is its demonstrated that: the information provided to employees is untrue, inaccurate, or misleading, the employee suffered damages as a result of relying on the information provided by the employer and the employer did not take reasonable care to ensure the accuracy of the information communicated to employees • Need to make sure there is a fair treatment of employee because communication will brake down. • suggestion programs o employees can often offer well-informed, thoughtful, and creative suggestions regarding issues ranging from malfunctioning vending machines to unlit parking lots to a managers spending too much of the departments money on travel • employee opinion surveys o communication devices that use questionnaires to ask for employees opinions about the company management and work life o recently employees have begun to use blogs to express opinions about their employers  should have suggested guidelines and specific tasks so that employees can blog without causing themselves or their employers any grief • top-down communication programs o communication activities including in-house television centers, electronic bulletin boards, and newsletters, that provide continuing opportunities for the firm to update employees on important matter • fair treatment programs o distributive justice refers to the fairness and justice of the outcome of decisions o procedural justice refers to the fairness of the process o interactional justice refers to the manner in which managers conduct their interpersonal dealing with employees and to the degree to which they treat employees with dignity and respect (as opposed to abuse or disrespect) o potential for employee grievances and discontent stemming from perceived unfairness – discipline cases and seniority issues in promotions o fair treatment programs ensure that all employees are treated fairly, generally by providing formalized, well-documented and highly publicized vehicles through which employees can appeal any eligible issue (air grievances) • *To get a sense of fairness • *Its hard to get suggestion from individual not in a hierarchy position • *Employee surveys have become common o If you are not going to listen then don’t do survey – you have to respond positively or negatively to maintain credibility Electronic Trespassing and Employee Privacy • Concern regarding fair treatment is employer reaction to misuse of company time and property arising from employee use of the internet and email at work for personal and possibly illegal uses, such as gambling and visiting porn sites • Employers have resorted to electronic monitoring, which is becoming easier and less expensive as new software is developed that can track Web sites visited by workers and time spent on each • Employee right to privacy vs. employer right to know • Employers concerned with abuse of company property for possible illegal use • Electronic monitoring easy, inexpensive; legal if balanced with employee rights under privacy legislation (PIPEDA) o More than individuals being able to multitask • Unions typically file grievances against video surveillance and arbitrators have been reluctant to support this type of surveillance because of privacy concerns - generally decided that surveillance is not reasonable and other means could be used • Employers must obtain consent from employees whenever personal information is collected, used or disclosed Electronic Monitoring Policy • Company email/internet for business use only • Deleted messages may still be in the system • Violation of policy will result in discipline • Written acknowledgement of policy by employees • **want to be aware of the privacy disclosures that you sign when you first enter a company Employee Discipline • Purpose of discipline is to encourage employees to adhere to rules and regulations • Fairness in Discipline – Three Foundations o Rules and regulations  Purpose is to inform employees ahead of time as to what is acceptable behaviour (preferably in writing) o System of progressive penalties  Severance of penalties usually a function of the type of offense and the number of times the offence has occurred o An appeals process  Helps ensure discipline is meted out fairly and equitably Fairness in Disciplinary Discussions • take a counseling approach • exhibit positive non-verbal demeanour • provide employee some process/outcome control • provide a clear explanation of the problem • ensure discussion is held in private • ensure that discipline is non-arbitrary/consistent o do not treat one employee differently from another Discipline without Punishment • discipline has two potential flaws: no one likes being punished and forcing the rules on employees may gain their short term compliance but not their active cooperation when supervisors are not on hand to enforce the rules • discipline without punishment is accomplished by gaining the employees acceptance of the rules and by reducing the punitive nature of the discipline itself. How to deal: • (a) Issue oral reminder • (b) Issue formal written reminder • (c) Provide one-day paid decision leave • (d) Purge suspension from file if no further incidents for one year o Dismissal if behaviour is repeated • Grievances, sick leave usage and disciplinary incidents all seem to drop in firms that use these procedures Managing dismissal • Dismissal is the most drastic disciplinary step that can be taken toward and employee and one that must be handled with deliberate care • Should be fair in that sufficient cause exists for it and all reasonable steps to rehabilitation or salvage the employee have failed Managing Dismissals: Grounds for Dismissal • Four basis for dismissal • (1)Unsatisfactory performance o persistent failure to perform job duties • (2) Misconduct o insubordination, stealing, fighting • (3) Lack of qualifications for the job (performance isn’t matching expectations) o after attempts to train have been made • (4) Changed requirements of/elimination of the job o if employee cannot be transferred Managing Dismissals: Insubordination • direct disregard for superior’s authority (playing political games to get your boss fired) • refusal to obey orders • deliberate defiance of company rules • public criticism of superior • blatant disregard for reasonable instructions • contemptuous display of disrespect • disregard for chain of command • action to undermine superior • *unacceptable in an organization because it creates a lack of coordination, ability to structure things in a certain way, lack of hierarchy – affects moral, credibility, performance Managing Dismissals: Employment Contract and Reasonable Notice • in writing or implied o implied that you work a specific time o probationary period: first three months of the contract are probationary where it’s a grace period for the company and individual to see if it is a fit  after the three months they will hire you or choose not to continue your contract • employment for indefinite period unless otherwise stated • implied contract where the understanding is that employment is for an indefinite period of time and may be terminated by either party only when reasonable notice is given (often 3-4 weeks per year of service) • employers cannot hire and fire employees at will – as in the US • termination for just cause does no
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