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Ethics, Justice, and Fair Treatment in HR Management Essay

1. Table of Contents:

i. Ethics and Fair Treatment at Work
ii. What Determines Ethical Behavior at Work?
iii. How Managers Use Personnel Methods To Promote Ethics and Fair Treatment? iv. Managing Employee Discipline and Privacy
v. Managing Dismissals

2. Why I Selected This Book/Article:

For the Course HRMN250 Human Resource Management

3. Book Theme (Key Quote):

“Ethics and fair treatment play important roles in managing employees at work. Of course, few societies rely solely on managers’ ethics or sense of fairness to ensure that they do what’s right by their employee.”

4. Abstract:
I. Ethics and Fair Treatment at Work. Ethics are normative judgments based on questions of morality. Ethics refers to what you stand for whereas fairness and justice are seen in terms of a decision’s result and the process of arriving at the same. Many countries have laws and legislations governing worker’s rights, not leaving them solely to an employer’s ethics. II. What Determines Ethical Behavior at Work? Several influences may determine whether a person acts ethical or not at work. They include: the boss: the company; the organizational culture aided by a code of ethics; and the person themselves.

III. How Managers Use Personnel Methods To Promote Ethics and Fair Treatment? Personnel methods such as selection, ethics training, performance appraisals, reward and disciplinary systems, managing compliance and personnel related method for ensuring fair treatment are tools which managers use to promote ethics and fair treatment in the organization.

IV. Managing Employee Discipline and Privacy. Employee discipline may be punitive or non-punitive but should be fair and progressive, with an appeal forum. Employee screening and background checks are useful appraisal tool but should respect privacy laws or be given employee consented.

V. Managing Dismissals. Fairness should be communicated in the involuntary termination of an employee’s employment and should be upheld by contractual agreements that show support for the same between the firm and the employee to avoid wrongful discharge claims. Layoffs, downsizing or closing plants should be down strategically and cautiously within legislative frameworks.

5. Brief Discussion of Book/Article Units/Sections/Chapters: I. Ethics and Fair Treatment at Work
A. Principles of conduct governing an individual or group and are based on
1. Normative Judgments
a. Something is either good or bad
2. Question of morality
a. Society’s highest standard of behavior
B. “Few societies rely solely on managers’ ethics or sense of fairness to ensure that they do what’s right by their employee.” They instead: 1. Formulated legislations to
a. Protect employees
i. Employees rights
b. Enforce laws
C. Justice is separated by experts into
1. Distributive Justice that shows a decision’s result exhibits a. Fairness
b. Justice
2. Procedural Justice shows
a. Fairness of process

II. What Determines Ethical Behavior at Work?
A. The person
1. The person most responsible for his or her own behavior
B. The boss
1. Several elements of leadership determine ethical behavior including exhibiting a. Coercion
b. Pressure
c. Unfair/bias treatment of employee
C. The organization’s culture including
1. The characteristics values, tradition and behavior a company’s employees share 2. The firm’s leaders ability to
a. Walk the talk
b. Clarify expectations
c. Provide needed support for employees to make ethical decisions d. Provide an ethical code which is
i. A document memorializing the standard that the employer expects the employees to adhere to III. How Managers Use Personnel Methods To Promote Ethics and Fair Treatment including the following A. Selection processes such as

1. Performing background checks
2. Ask ethical questions in the interview
3. Be fair in recruitment process
a. Use good selection tools
b. Respect applicants
c. Provide useful feedback
4. Have establish formal ethical procedures

B. Ethics training which involves
1. Teaching employees how to recognized
a. Dilemmas
b. Implications of actions
c. Resolve dilemmas
2. Managers commitment to ethics
3. Having new-employees’ orientation
4. Equipping employees’ with
a. Handbooks and copy of code of ethics
b. Refresher courses

C. Performance Appraisals – these attest to how fair or ethical an organization is and should be to employees
1. Clear
2. Understandable
3. Objective
4. Rewarding of ethical behavior

D. Reward and Discipline
1. Swift to punish unethical behaviors
2. Rewarding of ethical ones

E. Managing Ethical Compliance – To ensure compliance to legal and organizational ethical standards companies can set up
1. Frameworks
2. Procedures
3. Departments

F. Supervisors and Fairness
1. Involve employees in
a. Decisions that affect them
2. Make all aware of standards of evaluation
3. Communication should be
a. Two-ways
b. Practical
IV. Managing Employee Discipline and Privacy
A. Enforcing discipline encourages sensible behavior
1. Fair justice and disciplining involves 3 pillars
a. Rules and Regulations
b. Employees’ handbook
2. System of progressive penalties
a. Gives a sense of fairness and opportunity for remedial
b. Depends on severity of infringement
3. Process of Appeal
a. Gives a sense of fairness and opportunity for remedial
B. Discipline can be punitive or nonpunitive
1. Nonpunitive includes
a. Issuing oral reminder
b. If incidents arise again within six weeks
i. Formal written reminder placed on file
c. Further incident
i. Give one-day paid leave for employee to sort out self
d. Further incident
i. Dismissal
C. Employee Privacy –
1. Several employer actions that triggers most violation include
a. Background checks
b. Monitoring off-duty conduct
c. Drug testing
d. Workplace searches
2. By-laws that protect the same
a. No bathroom or locker-room surveillance
b. Cannot publish private matter such as
i. Medical records
c. May not appropriate employees’ name or likeness for commercial use without consent

3. Employee monitoring-
a. This includes
i. Reading their emails incoming and outgoing
ii. Blocking sites
iii. Monitoring in/out times as per workplace
4. Restrictions and guidelines
a. Electronic Communication Act which
i. Makes eavesdropping of employee legal up to a point
ii. States monitored calls if found to be personal should not be further monitored iii. Business purpose exception
iv. Consent exception

V. Managing Dismissals
A. Dismissal
1. Involuntary termination of employment
2. Most drastic organizational disciplinary action
3. Requires special care
4. Should be based on proper grounds
5. Should be done after effort to
i. Rehabilitate person
ii. Salvage person
B. Aspects include
1. Termination at will where
a. No contractual obligation between both parties
i. Either employee can be terminated at any point/any reason ii. Employee can resign at any time/reason
2. Wrongful Discharge- Include
a. Dismissals that
i. Violate law
ii. Fails to comply with contractual agreement
aa. Stated
ab. Implied
b. Statutory Exceptions which are
i. Governing laws that prohibits some kind of dismissals such as aa. Reporting safety violation
c. Common law exceptions
d. Public Policy Exception – where employee refuses
i. To break an explicit public law
ii. Well establish public policy
C. Grounds for dismissal include
1. Unsatisfactory performance, for example
a. Tardiness
b. Can’t perform duties applicable to employment
c. Absenteeism issues
2. Misconduct
3. Lack of qualifications
4. Changed requirement for the job
i. Nature of job
ii. Job no longer required or available
5. Insubordination
D. Fairness in dismissals entails
a. Giving full explanation as to why
b. Progressive approach
c. Process of dismissal
i. Who does it
ii. How it is done
iii. Where it is done
iv. Follow up services for the dismissed
E. Security measures as per dismissals
a. Disabling the dismissed
i. Access to compound
ii. Computers and other equipment
iii. Access to phones and other assets
F. Avoiding wrongful dismissal lawsuits
1. Create perception of fairness in
a. Employment policies
b. Grievance procedures
2. Make employees feel they are treated fairly
3. All employment-related policies, procedures and documents should be
a. Reviewed
b. Referenced
4. Have employee sign
a. A “no fixed term of employment contract”
b. Or a termination at any time clause
5. Communicate job expectations clearly
6. Make personnel supervisors liable; they should
a. Be familiar with applicable laws
b. Not at in anger
c. Utilize the HR department for advice
D. The Termination Interview – where the employee is informed of their dismissal
1. Plan carefully
a. Make sure schedule is kept by
i. Person doing the dismissal
ii. Employee
b. Use neutral location
i. Not your office
c. Have security or medical numbers at hand
d. Keep interview to maximum 10 minutes
e. Have all needed documents
2. Get to the point
3. Describe the situation, don’t emphasize person’s fault 4. Listen
5. Speak calmly
6. Review all elements of severance package
7. Identify the next step for the dismissed such as
a. Outplacement counseling
b. Exit interview as to
i. Get insight as to what the company is doing right or wrong E. Layoffs, Downsizing and the Plant Closing Law
1. These are non-disciplinary separation such as
a. Retirement
b. Resigning
c. Layoffs/bump-off –
i. Selecting employees to take time-off with the expectation to return to work in the future d. Downsizing – usually reducing dramatically the number of people employed by a firm 2. The plant Closing Law (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act 1989) a. Firms of 100 or more workers must give at least 60 days’ notice before i. Closing down facility

ii. Starting a layoff of 50 or more workers
b. Doesn’t prevent organizations from shutting down
c. Does not obligate firms to save job
d. Does require adequate notice by employers to allow time for employees i. To job search
ii. To retrain
iii. To adjust to circumstances
e. Penalty for infringement of this act include
i. 1 day pay for everyday of the violation
aa. That is, days when the notice should have been given
F. Layoff Process
1. Plan for layoffs
a. Have up-to-date appraisals in advance
aa. This attests to rationale behind layoff procedure
2. Layoff implies softness
a. Termination implies (cut off)
3. Layoff is characterized usually
a. Work is not available
b. Expected to be short term
c. Expected recalling of employees at later date
4. Sensible Layoff Steps involves
a. Identifying objectives and constraints
b. Forming a downsizing team
c. Addressing legal issues
i. Reviewing factors of those being laid off including
aa. Gender
ab. Race
ac. Religion
d. Address security issues, including
i. Personal
ii. Infrastructural
iii. Data
e. Remain informative and truthful
f. Plan post-implementation action
i. Especially for remaining workers
aa. Boost morale etc.
5. Dismissal Effect – plan to manage effect on
a. Victims
b. Survivors
c. Managers
i. Health
6. Layoff/Bump-off Procedures – detailed procedure determining who will be laid off it no work is available
a. Survivors often chosen by
i. Seniority
aa. Based on date joining the firm not a particular position ii. Merit
7. Alternatives to layoffs
a. Voluntary reduction in pay to keep everyone working
b. Concentrating employees vacation during slow times
i. Avoids having to hire seasonal workers
c. Voluntary time off
d. Offering early retirement packages
e. Hiring temporary workers with the understanding that “they would be first to go” G. Adjusting to Downsizing and Layoffs
1. Downsizing
a. Usually to boost financial position of the organization
b. Boosting the morale of survivors and management is essential 2. Mergers and Acquisition
a. Employees may now be hypersensitive as to unfair treatment management must i. Avoid appearing dominant
ii. Avoid “win-lose” behavior
iii. Remain business-like and professional always
iv. Remain positive about acquired firms
v. Remember that how the organization treats acquired employees affects aa. Organizational morale
ab. Productivity
ac. Commitment

VI. Practitioner/Researcher Value of Book:

A. The practitioner value of the book – The chapter “Ethics, Justice and Fair Treatment in HR Management” is of great practitioner value for several reasons. These reasons include firstly, the chapter’s readableness (the state or quality of being readable). The chapter has a uniform layoff where its main points or learning outcomes are indicated in an emboldened blue font of serif. Subtopics within these learning outcomes are given emboldened red fonts of sans serif and further subtopics are indicated using emboldened green fonts of sans serif. Thus the chapter is uniformly organized and makes for easy reading and finding of key concepts and other information. Definitions are clearly highlighted at the foot of each page that has a gray background.

The chapters’ practitioner’s value is shown also by the several tables and charts that conveniently summarize large amounts of information making for quick referencing by any practitioner. An example of this includes figure 14-12 on page 553, which shows the “Median Week of Severance Pay by Job Level”. This summative and quick reference format of key textbook and practical procedures for the issuance of severance is essentially useful to practitioners looking for reliable and timely solutions to everyday challenges. The chapter’s practitioner value is further attested to by several case studies and practical examples that show the key concepts presented being use in the real world and having practical application and relevance. Several case studies including that involving the infamous Enron (page 562) presents to the practitioner the relevance and implication of ethics by an organization.

Comprehensive case studies are also presented at the end of the book in Appendix B such as that which deals with the ethical underpinnings of conduct of BP Texas management in relations to the March 2005 explosion. Practicality of the book/chapter is attested to by examples like that on page 547-48 which presents an example of employee monitoring software, thus presenting to practitioner a practical example of the concept of employee monitoring and furthermore giving a suggested tool to implement the same. Finally the chapter’s practitioner value is depicted by several step-by-step procedures that give the practitioner easy and ready to use procedures that they can easily implement for results and solutions. Page 546 gives an example of this for disciplining employees without punishment offering a readily available reference tool and guide for the practitioner to administer the same. B. The researcher value of the book

The chapter (book) contains prodigious referencing. From its charts to tables to defining of key terms are given full reference linking information to their authors, websites and primary sources. Each chapter has its own endnote reference listing which gives all sources referenced as per the chapter. The sources are mainly in the form of scholarly journals and articles attesting to the credibility of the information presented in the chapter. This chapter in question has about a WHOPPING 117 sources as per the information presented therein.

Sources are easily verifiable. The books content are easily accessible as it contains an extension name and organization index with some 1200 entries. Its subject index is quite impressive as well in terms of its precision of search terms, concepts and points. The book/chapter presents an impressive Evidence Based HR section that presents evidence of how managers manage based on facts and evidence lending credence to the usefulness, credibility, applicability of the information presented. The book also presents authoritative findings and guidelines from professional bodies including The Society of Human Resource Management or SHRM as well as brief In-Text Study Guide from the SHRM organization. I therefore fully believe that the book is fully valuable to the researcher.

VII. Final Impact Statement:

In terms of ethics, justice and fair treatment in human resource management, we glean the importance of firstly the individual having a firm ethical framework, the organization also fostering the same and the society which embellishes the same. Governments are the regulating and enforcing entities of the same. We note in closing the authors remarks: “Of course, few societies rely solely on managers’ ethics or sense of fairness to ensure that they do what’s right by [to] their employees.” (Dessler, 2011, p. 533.). Instead we see legislations are used which at the minimum, organizations tend to subscribe to, and which satisfies both parties.

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