Employee Rights & Managing Discipline
All corporations strive to have strong employee relations, recognizing employee rights and effectively administering discipline are two vital aspects of developing this relationship. These aspects, meticulously executed, generate increased job satisfaction amongst employees and improved performance. Identifying and observing various employee rights is an integral piece of managing discipline. Management must be cognizant of these employee rights, divided into three separate categories: statutory rights, contractual rights, and other rights (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, and Cardy 441). Statutory rights, particular rights protected by specific legislation are often regulated by an agency of a state or federal government. A crucial right, developed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the protection from discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or handicap. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the federal government monitors employers to ensure that current and/or potential employees do not suffer from unfair discrimination. Protection against unsafe or unhealthy working conditions, another vital statutory right, falls under the regulation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, and Cardy 441). Contractual rights, granted by the law of contracts, derived from a legally binding promise created by two or more competent parties with remedies for non-compliance are another key element. Employment contracts, a classic example, clearly define the terms and conditions of employment for all involved parties. An advantage of such contracts entitles an employee to compensation if he/she is discharged for reasons other than nonperformance; this particular privilege is usually only available to individually negotiated contracts. Yet, benefits sheltered by union contracts include the right to due process and wrongful discharge remedies. Due process, the impartial investigation of disciplinary actions allow members under a union contract to claim back pay and other job rights if found to have been wrongfully discharged (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, and Cardy 441-442). However, these contracts are rare in the work force; most individuals, commonly employed at will, grant employer and/or employee an opportunity to terminate the relationship at any time for any cause. Employee rights, neither statutory nor contractual are other rights, encompassing, the right to ethical treatment, a limited right to privacy, and a limited right to free speech. Fair and ethical treatment by an employer is a reasonable expectation of employees, thus management needs to devise a culture promoting such treatment. Developing this culture include, but not limited to, techniques, such as, developing trust, acting consistently, demonstrating integrity, and ensuring that employees are treated equitably. Incorporating some of these practices will aid organizations to avoid high turnover rates, which can be damaging to the bottom line. The limited right to privacy, another defined other right, enables employees from unreasonable and unwarranted invasions of their personal affairs. Searches of an employee’s personal workspace or listening to their conversations should be limited situations initiated by reasonable cause or acquiring prior consent. Mark Dupont and Roy Clarke, shareholders of Richards, Watson, & Gershon, outline an effective method in which a corporation can acquire consent from employees: “Cover everything. Make the policy as broad as possible to cover all types of electronic communications that occur on work equipment, including those that may be developed and implemented in the future [cell phone, e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, and so forth). The policy should be set up to evolve with the rapid pace of technology. . . Make sure the policy matches practice. . . Take care that mid-level managers do not undermine the policy with stray comments and...
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