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LECTURE 7

THE WORKPLACE (1):


BASIC ISSUES

This lecture discusses the following:


AN
OVERVIEW

The condition of civil liberties in the workplace.


The moral aspects of personnel policies and procedures,

specifically hiring, promotions, discipline and discharge and


wages.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Students should be able to:
debate on the moral issues concerning civil

liberties in the workplace

identify the moral concern arise with respect

to personnel matters, namely, hiring,


promotion, discipline and discharge, and
wages.

CIVIL LIBERTIES IN THE WORKPLACE

Frequently employees find that treatment to be morally


deficient (lacking) and complain that organizations for which
they work violate their moral rights and civil liberties (social
freedom).
Historically, this authoritarianism stems from

(a) Employees must leave their rights when they are in the
workplace the system comes first

(b) The common-law has traditionally given the employer a


free hand in hiring and firing employees

Common law also requires that an employee be loyal to an

employer, acting solely for the employers benefit in matters


connected to work.

Example for (a) and (b): Louis V. MacIntire and Dupont Company
in Orange, Texas (page 204).

Companies That Look Beyond the Bottom Line

A growing number of companies encourage employee questions and


criticisms about company policies affecting the welfare of employees
and the community.
Examples:
Delta Airlines has top officials answer questions submitted
anonymously by employees.

General Electric has hotline for questions, worries and reports of


wrongdoing.
It is a moral duty of companies to respect the rights of their

employees.

Acknowledging and guaranteeing employees civil liberties can

enhance their morale and, thus, companys competitive performance.

PERSONNEL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

(1) Hiring
Oneusefulmethodtoapproachsomeofthemoralaspectsof
hiringistoexaminetheprinciplestepsinvolvedintheprocess:
(a)Screening

Screeningbeginswithajobdescriptionandspecification.

Job descriptionliststherelevant details about a job,including


itsduties,responsibilities,workingconditions,andphysical
requirements.

Job specificationdescribesthequalifications an employee


needs,suchasskills,educationalexperience,appearance,and
physicalcharacteristics.

USLawhasforbidden discriminationagainstindividualson
thebasisofage, race, national origin, religion,or gender,and
theseareitemsthatgenerallyshouldneverappearinjob
specificationsorrecruitmentadvertisements,norinhiring.

Example:HelpWanted:MaleorOver60


(b) Tests

Tests are designed to measure the applicants verbal, quantitative, and

logical skills.

Some companies use tests that are not designed for the companys

particular situation.

Moral aspect: Does the test measure what it was suppose to measure?

(c) Interviews

Moral issues in interviewing are related to the manner in which the

interview was conducted.


Human resource experts caution against rudeness, roughness,

hostility, and arrogance in interviewing job applicants.

(2) Promotions
The key moral ideal is fairness.

Problems with the three factors that sometimes serve as bases


for promotions:
(a) Seniority

Refers to longevity on a job or with a firm.

Problem: Whether the person who serve longer is well-qualified

in comparison to one who is really qualified but has been with


the company for shorter duration.

Seniority does not necessarily indicate competence or loyalty.

However, if employees expect seniority to count substantially,

management can injure morale and productivity by overlooking


it.

(b) Inbreeding

Promoting exclusively within the organization

Whenever managers must fill positions they should

look only to competence - whether within or out the


firm, should receive the position.

But managers must seriously consider the impact of

outside recruitment on in-house morale.

Some argue that management has a moral

obligation to remember loyalty when determining


promotions, especially when outside recruitment
departs from established policy.

(c) Nepotism

The practice of showing favouritism to relatives


and close friends.
A manager who promoted a relative strictly

because of the relationship between them would


raise a number of moral concerns, including
disregard of managerial responsibilities to the
organization and of fairness to other employees.

Different if the firm is a strictly family operation.

(3) Discipline and Discharge

Guidelines for behaviour based on factors such as


appearance, punctuality, dependability, efficiency,
and cooperation.

Discipline, although desirable and necessary,


raises concerns about fairness, non injury, and
respect for persons in the way it is carried out.

To create an atmosphere of fairness, the principles


of just cause and due process must operate.

Just cause requires that reasons for discipline or

discharge deal directly with job performance.


Example:
Lecturer always late for lecture without valid reason
Housekeeping staff does not tidy the guestroom
properly.

Lacked just cause for terminating with one days notice

an experienced employee with good record because he


had been diagnosed as having brain cancer.

Due process refers to the fairness of the procedures an

organization uses to impose sanctions on employees.


Rules be clear and specific and employees who have
violated them be given a fair and impartial hearing.

Four types of Discharge:

i)
Firing is for-cause dismissal the result of employee
theft,
release of proprietary information.

ii)
Termination results from an employees poor
performance that
is, from his or her failure to fulfil
expectations.

iii) Layoff refers to hourly employees and implies that they


are subject to recall (retrench temporarily).

iv
Position Elimination designates the permanent
elimination of a
job as a result of work-force reduction,
plant closing, or
departmental consolidation.
Employers bear the responsibility to terminate workers as

painlessly as possible to provide sufficient notice of


termination.

(4) Wages

Ethical guidelines that may help to minimize the chances of setting


unfair wages and salaries:

(a) What is the law?


The law requires businesses pay at least the minimum wage.

(b) What is the prevailing wage in the industry?


Salaries given for similar position in the industry can provide some
direction for arriving at a fair wage.

(c) What is the community wage level?


Able to sustain the cost of living.

(d) What is the nature of the job itself?


Some jobs require more training, experience and education than others.
Some are dangerous, socially undesirable.

(e) Isthejobsecure?Whataretheprospects?
Asecurejobwithaguaranteeofregularworkandexcellentretirement

benefits(suchascivilserviceposition)mayjustifyamoremoderatewage.

(f)

Whataretheemployersfinancialcapabilities?

Amaturecompanywithasecuremarketpositionmighteasilyaffordtopay

betterwages.

(g) Whatareotheremployeesinsidetheorganizationearningfor
comparablework?
Whattheorganizationisalreadypayingitspresentemployeesforworkof
asimilarnature?
.

Discussion Questions

(1) What rights do employers have with regard to hiring,


promotion, and firing? Suggest ways and means employers
can reduce discriminatory practices in these areas.

(2) Employers face the problem of setting wage rate and


establishing salaries. Give FIVE ethical guidelines that can
help minimize the chances of setting unfair wages and
salaries.

(3) Discuss the possible guidelines that can be used by


managers to decide on the wages and salaries of
employees.

(4) Discuss specific ethical guidelines to help minimize the


chances of setting unfair wages and salaries.