Issues That Faced Equal Employment Opportunity Business Essay

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The issue of equal employment opportunity in the workplace should be the standard practice of all companies. Equal employment opportunity means eradicating the disadvantages of excluded and subordinated groups in acquiring and retaining jobs (Suk, J. C. (2007). These opportunities are applicable for current employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, national origin, marital status, ancestry, medical condition, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law.

Sexual Harassment

All employees deserve to work in a place where they are free to participate without fear and intimidation. Any employee being subjected to any form of harassment is unacceptable. Sexual harassment is a violation of a person's physical domain and is a form of mental abuse that must not be tolerated. Such conduct has the effect of either (i) unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance, or (ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment (Robinson, R. K., Allen, B. K., Franklin, G. M., & Duhon, D. L. 1993).

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Ethics

The code of ethics and business conduct are critical components necessary for the success of a company. Employees should be encouraged of make decisions and execute objectives that are in the best interest of the business without compromising the established code of ethics of that company. At the core of this code of ethics and conduct should be a notice to all employees that they, including management, as well as business partners, shall adhere to the highest ethical standards in all business dealings. The policy should also encourage employees to report any acts of unethical behavior to the company ethical officer without free of retribution. Furthermore, the human relations office should work in tandem with management to reinforce a positive ethical climate. HR professionals must help ensure that ethics is a top organizational priority (Vickers, M. R.,2005). Businesses should maintain a "zero tolerance" philosophy concerning adherence to the code to include disciplinary actions when violated.

Benefits

Businesses want to attract dedicated, self-motivated, and creative employees. A proper mix of benefits, in addition to base compensation, that is comparable to that of a company's competitors is essential. According to a Human Resources specialist in the insurance industry, "by giving both new and veteran employees what they really want, the employer's image is enhanced, employee morale is enhanced and turnover is reduced" (Uzzi, 2004, p. 28).

Paid Leave

Paid leave allows employees to take time to recover from an illness, care for a sick family member, or take the time necessary to rest and recharge without sacrificing a payday. According to the Working Adults Vacation Survey, between 60 and 70 percent of employees believe vacations improve their productivity (Benitez, 2001, p.10).

Military Leave

The rights of a reservist to military leave and reemployment upon their return is secured by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERA) (Rosseau & Neuman, 2006, p. 10, Seniority, length of service, and eligibility for pay increases, promotions, and other personnel actions in which length of service is a factor must be calculated for reservists as if their employment had not been interrupted by military service.

Worker's Compensation

48 out of 50 states require employers to provide workers compensation to both full and part-time employees (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, & Cardy, 2010, p.381). Lost pay and medical expenses due to a job-related illness or injury can be devastating, and employers are obligated to minimize this hardship when injuries occur at the workplace. The law aside, a company that strives comply with a Christian worldview would do well to follow the example of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-8 who sought the best possible medical care for his servant. Today's businesses should likewise provide care for sick or injured employees.

Retirement

Saving for retirement should begin early. Yet, today's employees are less likely to stay with the same employer throughout a 30 or 35 year career (Gomez-Mejia et al., 2010, p. 392). Since a traditional pension plan is expensive and forces the employer to assume all of the risk, a new company may wish to encourage employees to save for their own retirements by providing matching contributions to a 401(k) plan.

Overtime Laws & Regulations

In the United States wages, standard working hours, and overtime requirements are regulated by The Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938. The two main areas of concern covered by The Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938 focuses on, "Imposing a federal minimum wage and an overtime premium of one and half times the straight time wage for all hours above 40." (Costa, 2000, pg. 648). The Fair Labor Standard Act, "Established standards for minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor. These standards affect more than 130 million workers, both full-time and part-time, in the private and public sector" (United States Department of Labor http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-flsa.htm).

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Ultimately organizations that fail to adhere to all federal and states laws governing wages and hours will eventually find themselves defending their actions in a court of law.

Separations/Terminations

In the world of business, organizations spend time and money ensuring its workforce consists of dedicated, motivated, and highly skilled employees. Establishing and maintaining a successful workforce, "Is an expensive proposition and cost of doing business" (Heneman, and Judge, 2009, p. 6). Most organizations employ personnel based on the employment-at-will agreement. The employment-at-will law also affords employees the right to end his or her employment with an organization at anytime and for any cause. Terminations and separations may be either voluntary or involuntary. A voluntary termination of employment normally occurs when an employee informs an organization of his or her decision to resign from a position within the organization

An involuntary termination or separation may occur due to, "substandard performance, attendance problems, violation of organizational policies or standards, and serious employee misconduct" (Bliss & Thornton, 2008). When making the decision to terminate an employee, an organization must ensure the reason for termination was not made on the, "basis of protected characteristics, including race, gender, pregnancy, age, religion, national origin, disability and military service" (Bliss, et al., 2008). Therefore, organizations should document all actions concerning terminations and involuntary separations.

Work Hours

When developing a hiring/recruiting strategy organizations must account for the realization that competitors are also working to recruit similar candidates for its organization. Companies must be prepared to offer candidates benefits and other options that other organizations are not. One such benefit is the option of working a non-traditional work schedule. The options include working flextime, a compressed work week, or to remain on a traditional working schedule and work an organizations core hours.

Research has linked flextime, "To workplace attendance, performance, stress, satisfaction, and organizational attachment" (Lucas & Heady 2002, p. 566). For many employees this is an important incentive to ensure that they have a balance between personal and professional life. Another option for flexible working hours is offered by using a compressed work week.

A compressed work week, "Alter the number of workdays per week by increasing the length of the workday to 10 or more hours" (Gomez-Mejia, et al., 2009, p. 78). A compressed work week requires an employee to work longer hours per day; however, the work week is reduced to three or four day per week.

Specific written policies to explain the types of jobs that are and are not candidates for flexible arrangement can ensure fair treatment for all groups of employees" (Birschel, 2002, p. 90).

Disclaimer

An often overlooked but vital part of a policy manual is the disclaimer because "a unilateral contract is formed when an employer disseminates a policy manual to his or her employees" (1992, p. 159). An organization should use clear disclaimer language to preclude breach of contract claims. The disclaimer could state the policy manual and statements made herein do not constitute a contract between the organization and employee but only provide guidelines. The organization should maintain an employment-at-will relationship with all employees. (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, & Cardy, 2010, pp. 414-415)

Your performance

- Promotions

To retain and attract exemplary employees organizations use job promotions and performance reviews. Ordinary and traditional systems of evaluation will often leave both the organization and employee combating problems such as leniency, halo effect, and the central tendency error. (Rarick & Baxter, 1986). Promotions require the minimum submission of successful performance reviews for the previous five quarters, recommendation of direct supervisor or manager and approval signatures of human resources representative and site manager.

Performance reviews

Employees will participate in a short evaluation once a quarter with their direct supervisor. This review will consist of using Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS). (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, & Cardy, 2010)

One of the big advantages of the BARS system is that the employee learns what fellow employees believe is needed to improve his or her performance. The system gives everyone in the firm feedback on the same core competencies, and aligns the entire firm with competencies deem essential for competitive success. (1996, p. 57)

Annual

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The annual performance appraisal will consist of a summary of the SEBARS forms completed during the previous four quarters. Additionally, a 360° feedback evaluation must be completed using one of your peers and one customer. This annual performance appraisal will be used to determine the employee's overall performance comparable to other employee's holding similar position(s).