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Responsibilities of Employers to Employees Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Apr 22nd, 2020

The employer’s impression towards an employee determines their level of involvement in their place of work. For instance the needs assessed by the employer for training or refreshing the skills of the employee give the impression on goals attainment and duty-of-care by the employer.

The paradigms of the responsibilities of the employer to the employee have shifted severally. Ancient Greeks viewed work as God’s punishment; Benedictine Monks labour-intensive work-scale line-of-thinking; 18th century Protestant work ethic and the recent view of work as a fulfilment of an individual’s life. The exemplary case of Malden Mills Factory fire and the management welfare-scheme in 1995 typified that both the employer and employee are entitled to economic prospects and continuity.

Employer-Employee-Contract was a 21st Century reality the employer had to embrace as part of the evolving stakeholder relationship and mutual benefit. There exists a psychological contract (whether written or not) that binds the two parties, ceteris-paribus. Years before 1900, the employer-and-employee relationship was that of master-servant. There was a positive shift of balance of powers in the 1920s and 1930s. The 1970s saw the restructuring of jobs and managements. In 1980s the family analogy was adopted in the workplace.

The workplace workforce reduction has been driven as a desire for greater efficiency and effectiveness. To many employees, this is undesirable and puts pressure on top management. Workforce reduction may be a strategic decision like in the case of IBM in 2005 supplanted American and European workforce with Indian.

Internal settings should be supplemented with the external surroundings of business when downsizing the workforce as illustrated in the case of Opryland Hotel in Nashville, whose laid-off staff were quickly reabsorbed by other Hotel facilities in the surrounding.

In the 1990s and turn of millennium, due to job security concerns the strategic decision of downsizing has had to take a two-way approach that integrates the employee as an important contributor to his/her fate. Arguably, there is a proliferation of laws to support this. Key legislations in the USA include Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938; Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Others are the National Labour Relations Act of 1935 as well as Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970.

Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964 restrains the employer from negative discrimination, while providing opportunity for affirmative action for fairness and equality. Other legislations tackle matters on sexual harassment bearing in mind the rise of women’s numbers in the workplace as from the last half of the 20th Century. Sexual harassment manifests through either Quid pro quo or hostile work environment. Recent trends in the US Supreme Court show there is a lot of activities regarding this.

Whistle-blowing at the workplace puts the management on the spot to consider corrective actions. This manifested itself in various ways such as the case of the death of Senior Vice President of Gulf Power in 1968 through a plane crash. Laws have brought ethical reforms in the workplace through social responsibility.

Through training and employment, employers exhibit that they value staff. For instance, the Cracker Barrel Restaurant offers non-English speaking employers program to learn English. However, this requires resources to be set aside and management goodwill.

Workplace diversity is an affirmative ethical action that counters abuse of the Title VII of the Civil rights Acts. There is need for work and life balance in order to maximize the trade off for devotion to work and family. This has been justified through studies, especially targeting the female gender. Individuals may be assisted to adjust to this through work/life programs.

Such programs should target the employer so as to be sensitive to staff cues as well as employees to effectively execute the work/life balance. Voluntary initiatives such as philanthropic acts both at in-house and outside world are appreciated elements of corporate social responsibility. Over the time, strategic execution of social responsibilities need legal and human resource acumen that weighs the employer based on the set best practices.

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