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Unit 31 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. Lesson 3 Employee Relations, Labour Relations & Protecting Employee Rights
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 2 Learning Outcomes Understand the role of employee relations in the practice of human resource management. Recognize the differences between employee relations and labor relations. Understand the employment-at-will doctrine and the nature of labor unions in the workplace. Understand the rights of employees to be professionally managed. Comprehend the planning and expectations aspects of professional management. Recognize matters of common law as applied to the employment relationship. Understand the role of the human resource practitioner as a managers' manager.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 3 Employee Relations Employee relations is a very broad practice that influences all terms, conditions, rights, privileges and interactions of employment. It is the essence of the employment relationship with the organization and its agents. Human resource practitioners spend most of their time engaging in employee relations activities.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 4 Labour Relations Labor relations, consists of a very narrow practice that is applied to interactions among management, workers, and labor unions in an organization that has union representation of its employees. Labor relations specialists practice an area of administrative law that includes contract negotiation, mediation, arbitration, dispute resolution and union relations. A labor union negotiates employee relations activities such as work rules, job descriptions, hiring practices, compensation structures and other work related matters through collective bargaining agreements. Labor unions are necessary for worker representation within reactive organizations. Union representation of workers has been in a steady state of decline for a number of years.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 5 Labor unions are mostly favored among large factories that provide assembly line production of products. A closed shop is a workplace in which workers must be union members to be considered for employment. For instance, in the early 1980s as casino hotels were being built in Atlantic City, an individual could not work as a bartender unless she was a member of the local Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union. At the same time, a bartender could not be listed with the union unless she had a bartending job.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 6 So you couldn't get a job without being in the union and you couldn't have bartender status with the union without having a job. Some states permit union shops in which non-union members may be hired into a shop, but must join the representing union upon being hired. In the state of Florida, all shops are referred to as open shops, which permit the hiring of union and non-union personnel, with no requirement of any employee in a union classification to join that union. In the event that a worker chooses not to join the union, he does not have to pay union dues and still enjoys the protection of the union in matters of workplace grievances.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 7 Organizing Activities The employees in an organization would be in their best interest to be represented by a specific labor union. The employees would seek the assistance of union organizers, who would hold campaign meetings outside the workplace. At the end the workers would cast votes to petition the NLRB to hold a union election at the workplace. The union will begin the bargaining process by submitting a list of demands (working procedures, compensation, scheduling, job security, and other work- related activities). It becomes the content of negotiations.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 8 A third party will be brought in to perform conciliation or mediation activities aimed at getting the parties through the impasse to an agreement. At some point there will be a settlement, in which the parties will have reached an agreement. The terms of the agreement are then presented to the workers (new union members) for ratification (final approval) of the contract. Once the contract is ratified, it becomes a binding collective bargaining agreement that stipulates the work policies and rules for all individuals represented within that union classification.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 9 HR Contributions to Establishing Expectations The difference between human resource management and personnel administration is the strategic focus of human capital, strategic planning process that includes goals, strategies, policies, standards, and procedures. Once these are in place, the HR manager focuses on job design activities for the organization. Job design is the practice of arranging tasks, duties, and responsibilities into positions.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 10 Job analysis consists of steps taken to identify knowledge, skills, tasks, duties, responsibilities and the working environment for each individual who holds a position. Job analysis activities should take place for every position in the organization at least once per year. The first result of job analysis activities is the creation of a document called a job specification. The job specification identifies the knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities that determine the qualifications for a specific position.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 11 Another document resulting from job analysis is called the job description. This document articulates the tasks, duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, and sometimes the criteria for performance evaluation relative to a particular position. The final outcome of the job analysis process is the criterion used to evaluate actual performance as compared to standards, which is part of the performance management system. Evaluations of workplace performance are known as performance appraisals.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 12 Career planning and development activities are driven by the job analysis function, as well as training, orientation, performance management systems and health/safety plans. Data are collected - observation, work sampling, interviewing, questionnaires, and combination methods. During times of the media reporting corporate downsizing, for employees to be concerned that their jobs will be eliminated. For these reasons, it is essential for the job analysis practitioner to take an honest and empathetic approach to collecting the data for analysis.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 13 The Rights of Employees SOP sets the guidelines for performance, the rules of conduct set the guidelines for acceptable behavior in the workplace. Sound human resource management practices accord employees the opportunity to tell their side of the story during any disciplinary situation. Organizations that afford due process to their employees are going above and beyond what is legally required by statute. However, this practice is beneficial, as any adjudicator in a third-party hearing will consider the due process accorded by the employer as an indication of good faith and fair dealing with employees, which weighs in favor of the employer.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 14 Common-Law Rights Applied to the Workplace First is the concept of responsibility, or the duty to perform some action. The second factor, accountability, is defined as the duty to account for one's actions. Third, is the doctrine of negligence, which involves a breach of responsibility, for which an individual may be held liable. Fourth, there is the doctrine of liability, which is the duty to make things right in the case of a breach of responsibility (negligence).
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 15 Hence, that person is held to be liable for the damages incurred from that negligence, which is usually in the form of financial payment to the party that was harmed. As mentioned before, in a matter of a court case brought under common law, the petitioner (party that was harmed) is the plaintiff and the party that is being petitioned becomes the defendant. The judge or a jury will award damages to the plaintiff based on the merits of the case, which may include compensatory and punitive damages. These matters are within the jurisdiction of the state courts.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 16 The duty of a manager is to exercise reasonable care in the practice supervising the activities of others. Reasonable care is defined as that which a person of sound mind would consider to be reasonable action in a situation. The level of responsibility for an employer is the exercise of due care, which is that level of care that is reasonably expected of a person engaged in a position of responsibility, such as hiring employees. Wrongful discharge occur when an employer terminates an employee for reasons that violate public policy (such as whistle blowing), implied or express contracts, or the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Unit 3 Copyright © 2010 MDIS. All rights reserved. 17 In matters where individuals communicate false information, either verbally or in writing, that casts a negative light upon the character of another individual, a civil charge of defamation by libel (written) or slander (verbal) could result. This charge occasionally results from unfavorable reference information that is shared about former employees seeking work with new employers. Even if the information attained by an employer about a current or prospective employee is accurate, it may be information that has no job-related implications; thus there is no "need to know" the information. For instance, an employer may conduct a credit check on a worker who does not engage in any form of financial transaction as part of the job. In this case the worker could have standing for a common- law case of invasion of privacy.
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