Employment in modern days has been a contentious subject in the labor market. With the workforce growing enormously and the opportunities growing slimmer every day, employers tend to take advantage of the situation to exploit employees. The current economic crisis (recession) has not only affected the cash flow and performance of the business organizations but has also led to increased unemployment facilitated by the rise in staff layoffs as firms restructure and downsize. Gone are the days when the godfathers were actively involved in securing a job. Today, merit and performance play a key role in securing and maintaining a job. In today’s labor market, work, as perceived by many, is not only the Porsche offices in white or blue color jobs but also the formal and informal sectors.
Since we spend the majority of our time in our workplace than anywhere else, it must be made habitable to avoid life’s physiological stresses. Employees who have less stress tend to have more productivity levels hence more efficient and cost-effective (Fowler, 1998). The employer must also provide an enabling environment, the best equipment, and technology to ensure effective services. The recruitment process must be standard so as to recruit the right candidate. There should be fairness in all areas of the organization, including in promotion as well as the duties and rights of all employees. This paper will provide an analysis and arguments about fairness in hiring and promotion, as well as in the duties and rights of employees in the workplace.
Fairness in the workplace
Fair representation of the workforce is enhanced by addressing all aspects, including gender representation and disabilities (which, by the way, is a major issue for many employers). Ethically, fairness in hiring employees is encrypted in the laws and regulations of the land (in the labor act), but it goes beyond these laws since it requires a clear conscience of both the employer and employee. Whichever type of employment, either on a contract, casual or permanent basis, fairness is the key to getting the best results, and most states have an organized way to curb employment unfairness. They have labor unions that cater to and look after the welfare of the workers and have even organized a labor day, celebrated annually (Traiforos & Perry, 1998).
Fairness in hiring and promotions tends to be a major issue, more so in private institutions, where the owner tends to control the whole recruitment process. The private employer takes the powers to hire and fire into his hands, and any ‘silly’ mistake will land the unemployed class. This mode of control makes the employee stay with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future hence affecting productivity. The interview panel recruiting personnel is also a major setback in eliminating biases in the company. One member should not be given authority to interview and recruit personnel, but a range of qualified staff should be involved in the exercise. Several companies opt to hire recruiting firms that hire a human resource on behalf of the company. This is usually easier and less time-consuming (Alder & Gilbert, 2006).
After hiring the individuals, no bias should be seen in judging and evaluating their performance, and each should have equal access to employment benefits and opportunities for easy advancement. People with disabilities face the worst discrimination since most even do not pass the questionnaire, which has some sensitive questions. Probation is another way of frustrating employees. Here, they are subjected to enormous work to reveal their identities as potential rebels or otherwise. The terms dealing with non-unionized workers and rules of collective bargaining are a major block in maintaining unfairness. The allowances offered by the employer also indicate the type of employer one is. Allowances stimulate the best in individuals that are in employment since they are seeking promotions which they can not achieve without performing their best. There have been cases of favors to earn promotions; these favors include sexual or monetary. Sexual offenses in the workplace should be checked regularly, for some employees may be suffering in silence (Capehart, & Richard, 2005). Tribalism, racism, and nepotism are the most options for uncouth employers who want to further personal agendas. Such employers use informal arrangements within the institution and develop a culture within the workplace that will support the informal agreement; hence little change can be done. Promotions should be done according to qualifications or even the experience one has. Though other individuals may have the experience but lack the documented proof to show it, the management should be in a position to identify such individuals and reward them accordingly (Capehart & Richard, 2005).
Employees who don’t know their rights will definitely be the victims of unfair treatment in the workplace. Representatives of the people in the employment hierarchy may also be toys of the employers hence manipulated to further the goals of the employer. The best way to curb unfair treatment by employees is to form labor unions to cater to the interest of its member. Labour unions are advocates of promoting equal rights for the employees through published policy. It also educates its members in counseling and guidance, and legal matters. Guides like the Disability and Discrimination in the Workplace: Guidance for negotiators are a perfect example of education for the disabled, which provides practical steps to tackle discrimination and promote equality in the workplace (Lee, 2005).
There is a language to employment. Since the employer and employee come to a mutual agreement, there must be power and control. By law, employment is the reference to control the power. If any of the above misses, then the meaning changes. When we talk about hiring, we must also talk about the firing, which mostly comes about due to insubordination where the employee is taking the power of the employer into his own hands.
Employees can achieve power in the organization n through the demand /control model and the Effort/reward imbalance model. The demand/control model tries low control or less influence over the work done combined with high demand, i.e., giving much work for a long period of time and imposing deadlines. The effort/reward imbalance model gives low rewards in terms of status, financial gain, or career advancements, e.g., promotion combined with high effort. All these models give all the results of unfair treatments and should not be used at all (Alder & Gilbert, 2006)
To be able to provide a fairground for both the non-union employee and employer, the employer has to have various guarantees. These guarantees are the baseline for such employers and will act as a guideline to the parties. Reasonable influence in determining the means, manner, and methods of day-to-day work should be based on the constraints imposed by the nature of enterprise and adequate information from the employer concerning hazards in the physical and psychological environment. In addition, adequate information about production and efficiency issues that will have an impact on the employee, corporate policies and rules regulating health, safety promotions, discipline, transfers, and dismissal should be freely available. Employees should also be allowed to review matters of their contract and be free to challenge objectionable unanimously introduced changes to the policies and rules which are unreasonable (Alder & Gilbert, 2006).
Most employees enter into the employment field in good faith, but they get exploited by the employer. Therefore, they should seek clarification in the form of written legislation which should be discussed in good faith by all parties. All said and done, these rights come with duties that must be attended to. Some duties have no restrictions on who to appoint, although they define the qualification required to perform them. The rights of each employee come with the group or age he/she is; young people (below 18 years) are not generally required to work by law, and therefore they are treated differently – they should be given clear and repeated instructions and under close supervision all the time. No one is allowed to operate machines unless adequate training is offered or is under the tight supervision of an expert. Other groups treated differently include pregnant women and new mothers who are prone to risks. Working hours or conditions of work can change when hazards are detected. They may be entitled to a paid leave to make them evade the hazard. Training is a vital element in maintaining the productivity of employees. Training in the use of the recent technology at the expense of the employer as well as study leaves, to enable employees to gain advanced knowledge, should be offered. Other forms of training include first aid or disaster management in the workplace. Medical assistance should be availed to any employee who is injured in the line of duty. Most employers encourage or are obliged by law to contribute to medical schemes, which cater to the employees’ welfare in cases of sickness or health risks (Barclay & Markel, 2008).
Breach of contract by either employee or employer may lead to dismissal or litigation, respectively. Most employers use verbal communication from seniors, which is intimidating to the employee; the right procedure would be to use written communication indicating the cause of dismissal and the consequences. The employer should also give a chance to the employee to explain his/her actions before final judgment is taken. The internship is mainly misused by employers since interns are never paid in most cases and are treated unequally compared to permanent employers.
Salary is a major motivating factor to employees and hence should be commensurate to the work done. Some employees work for long hours and on physically tiring jobs but end up earning peanuts at the end of the day, yet some work for fewer hours and on less tiring jobs but earn hefty amounts. Allowances given to each employee, either senior or otherwise, should be clearly negotiated and offered on merit. Payment of the employees’ due should be prompt and regular to enable the workers to plan themselves and their budgets.
Rights and duties
The rights of both the employer and the employees in the workplace should be respected to enhance ethical practices and maintain fairness. These rights should be built around a code of ethics that includes honesty, obedience, confidentiality, responsibility, creativity, competence, and industriousness (Messick & Tenbrunsel, 1996)
The employers’ duties to the employees include; Reasonable towards employment matters, having good industrial relations and giving documented evidence in employment, acting accordingly to the employment contract in terms of payments, and Ensuring the safety and health of the employees. These duties will help the achievement of fairness in the place of work.
Proper job descriptions, which clearly specify the employee’s duties and responsibilities, should be laid down. This will reduce conflict of duties between the senior and junior employees, which leads to unfair dismissal from the organization. Supervisors tend to frustrate employees by being dictatorial and discriminative; hence the senior management should be watchful of such cases to avoid unrest in the company or organization. Most employers never notice employee harassment which may be common in the line of delegation where the subordinates are forced to perform certain responsibilities that do not directly fall under the terms of the contract.
Nonperforming employees should also be regulated in order to take care of the employer’s welfare. These employees should be laid down if worst comes to worst. One who does not perform the duties as stipulated in the employment letter or appointment letter has no value or benefits to the company, which may be termed a breach of contract.
After retirement or in case of retrenchment, the employers should ensure that they do not destabilize the employee’s financial position. Reasonable and recommended notice should be given, as this will enable them to plan for their life afterward. Employers who care about their employees’ financial well-being by advising on savings and retirement benefits can go a long way to treating employees fairly and justly. No form of unfairness should be tolerated anywhere, and every right should be respected.
Alder, S. G. & Gilbert, J. (2006). Achieving Ethics and Fairness in Hiring: Going Beyond the Law. Journal of business ethics, volume 68, number 3. Springer Netherlands. Web.
Barclay L. A. & Markel, K. S. (2008). Ethical Fairness and Human Rights: The Treatment of Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities. Journal of business ethics volume 85, number 3. Springer Netherlands. Web.
Capehart, A. & Richard, O. (2005). Organizational Justice and Perceived Fairness of Hiring Decisions Related to Race and Gender: Affirmative Action Reactions. Journal of equal opportunities Vol. 24. Issue 1 page 44. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Lee, C. (2005) Rule Aids Disabled Workers; An Exemption in Competition Plan. Washington Post.
Messick D. M. & Tenbrunsel A. E. (1996). Codes of conduct: behavioral research into business ethics. New York, Russell Sage Foundation.
Raymond D. F. (1998). Fairness in the work place. The APA Monitor. Volume 29, number 7. Web.
Traiforos, A. & Perry, D. A. (1998). Rights and Duties: Workers’ Perspective. Bangkok, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.