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The Importance of Employment Laws Essay

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Updated: May 5th, 2022

Introduction

Employees are the important assets of an organization. Employees are engaged in production of goods or services that enable an organization to earn an income. Therefore, it is critical for any organization to have highly productive employees. Employee motivation is one of the factors that affect the productivity of the employees. Organizations implement several strategies to ensure that their employees are highly motivated. Most organizations use performance-based appraisal to improve the productivity of the employees. Performance based appraisal rewards high performing employees and fails to reward low performing employees. Despite the importance of employees in an organization’s existence, several organizations treat their employees unfairly. Therefore, it is critical for the government to formulate labor laws that ensure employers do not violate the rights of their employees. Some of the labor laws include equal employment opportunities, rights to paid leave after a certain duration of time, and right to maternal leave. In addition, employees should ensure that they guarantee the health and safety of the employees in the workplace. Employment laws ensure that organizations treat their employees humanely. Governments do not formulate employment laws to curtail the activities of an organization. In fact, they may help improve the productivity of an organization. As the HR vice president of Apple computers Inc., I would undertake several measures to improve employee relations and prevent litigation by disgruntled employees.

Employment Laws

Apple is a company that is involved in the manufacture of electronic products. Therefore, it is critical for the organization to guarantee the safety and security of its employees. This would help in protecting the human resources of the organization. The organization should improve the occupational or safety health of the organization to ensure that employees do not get injures while performing their official duties. The organization should ensure that employees are free from physical harm by other employees, outsiders or acts of nature. The human resource manager should ensure that employees work in a safe environment that has minimal on-the-job injuries and illnesses (Shi, 2007). Ensuring safety and security enables an organization to adhere to employment laws on safety and security in the workplace. In addition, it protects the organization from expensive lawsuits from employees. Lawsuits due to the lack of safety or security of an organization may harm the image and reputation of a company significantly (Cole, 2002). This would ultimately affect the competitiveness of the company. No one would prefer to associate themselves with a company that does not guarantee the safety and security of its employees.

All employees are entitled to unpaid leave for family or personal matters. Upon childbirth, an organization should grant female employees maternity leave. This would enable the women take good care of their children. For an employee to qualify for paid leave, the employee must have worked within the organization for a certain duration of time before the leave. After giving birth, the female employee has a right to return to her previous job without losing any seniority, pension or other rights. It is illegal for an employer to dismiss a woman on the grounds of her pregnancy or childbirth regardless of the length of employment of the woman with the organization. However, it is not illegal for an organization to dismiss the woman on other grounds, as long as the organization provides the notice of dismissal detailing the reasons for the dismissal. In such an instance, the woman is entitled to her pay in lieu (Portillo & Block, 2012). In addition, an employee is entitled to leave to attend to family or personal matters.

Thus, Apple’s employees are entitled to take time off to cater for dependents that get sick, have an accident, or give birth. In addition, an employee is entitled to leave should a dependent die. However, for an organization to grant the employee leave, the employee must give adequate notice to the organization informing the organization the reasons for requesting the leave. Apple may treat such leave as paid or unpaid. However, for the organization to seem humane, the organization should treat the leave as paid leave. This would show that the organization understands the needs of the employer. In addition, an employee has a right to obtain leave to attend to public duties. However, the leave to attend to public duties is usually unpaid (Cole, 2002). An employee is also entitled to a leave to seek medical treatment. The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees employees the above rights. Organizations that violate the above rights may face prosecution (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2008).

In addition, it is critical for Apple to offer equal employment opportunities. It is illegal for the organization to deny an individual employment due to sex, sex orientation, political affiliation, disability, religion, origin, color, and race. The Civil Rights Act ensures that organization uphold this rights to any employee. In addition, the company should offer a reasonable pay to its employees. It is illegal for the organization to have sex-based wage discrimination. Men and women who perform the equal work in the same organization are entitled to similar pay packages.

HR Vice President’s Job Description

As the HR vice president, I maintain the work structure of the organization and update the job description of other employees of the organization. The HR vice president also establishes an interviewing, testing, and recruiting program for the organization. This would enable the company get highly qualified employees who would handle their professional duties easily. I usually coordinate with the HR president and managers in developing an orientation and training program to new employees. This enables new employees fit into the organization quickly. I also coordinate with managers in establishing a planning, monitoring, and appraisal of employees’ results. Since managers are the individuals within the organization that are directly involved in planning and monitoring the employee, the HR vice president should train the manager how they should undertake the same. The appraisal program of the organization should ensure that it leads to increased productivity of the employees. As the HR vice president, I always monitor the activities of the organization to ensure compliance with existing legislation. I also represent the organization in legal proceeding against the organization due to employment related issues. This enables me be conversant with employment laws. The pay package that an organization offers it employees is one of the factors that affect employee motivation significantly. Therefore, I usually conduct surveys to ensure that the organization offers favorable pay packages to its employees.

The HR vice president and the HR president are the only people within the organization who may develop job descriptions. Therefore, as the HR vice president, I ensure that there is a written job description for all employees of the organization. The job description details the duties of an employee, workstation(s), and the reporting structure of the employee. The job description also details how employees may associate with other employees to ensure that they function effectively. All employees should append their signature to the job description prior to starting employment with the organization. This makes the job description a binding contract of employment between the organization and the employee. This would protect an organization from future litigation by employees who would claim that they are performing duties that are not in their job description. From time to time, an organization should update the job description in accordance with the changing needs of the organization or employee, or upon promotion of the employee.

Preventing Litigation during Hiring and Firing Employees

It is common for an organization to face litigation due to hiring of employees. Litigation may have huge financial repercussions to the organization. Therefore, it is critical for an organization to undertake measures that would protect an organization from litigation. To avoid litigation I would ensure that I offer a job description that describes the job position accurately. The job description should describe both the essential and non-essential functions of the employment position. I would undertake background checks on the potential employees before hiring the employee. This would enable the organization detect potential flaws in the employee’s character and protect it from future litigation (Kuzmits, Thacker & Osbourn, 1991). I would ensure that the company obtains a written consent form from the potential employee to check the references that the potential employee provides in the job application. During job interviews, I would ensure that interviewers ask only the questions that are relevant to the interview. It is unethical or illegal for interviewers to ask certain questions to potential employees. The law prohibits interviewers from asking potential employees questions regarding to their sexual orientation, marital status, or political orientation. In addition, I would ensure that the company maintains the notes from the hiring process for at least one year. The interview notes may act as vital pieces of evidence in any future litigation.

The case of Tallahassee Furniture emphasizes the importance of undertaking background checks on an individual. A Florida jury found a furniture company, Tallahassee Furniture Co., Inc. liable for a $2.5 million penalty after its employee violently attacked a woman in her home. The court found the furniture company guilty of negligent hiring. However, if the company had undertaken appropriate background check on the employee, they would have discovered the flaws in the employee’s character. This would have prevented the furniture company from hiring the employee (Fay, 2007).

To prevent litigation after termination, I would ensure that the organization documents reasons for firing the employee. The company would keep a record of the reviews of the employee’s performance and warnings that the organizations gave the employee prior to firing. In addition, I would ensure that the company does not fire an employee due to discriminatory reasons. I would ensure that the company takes time to give a personal explanation on the reasons why the company decided to fire the employee. There is no legal obligation requiring the company offer personal explanation to the employee. However, giving personal explanation on reasons for firing the employee would reduce the chances of the employee take legal action the company. In case there are reasons for the employee to sue the organization the firing, I would ensure that the company offers the employee severance benefits to prevent the employee from taking legal action against the company (Tomlinson & Bockanic, 2009).

The CalMat case highlights the importance of desiting from wrongful termination of employment. In CalMat Co. v. United States Dep’t of Labor, the court determined that CalMat had illegally fired Robert Germann. A fellow driver informed Germann that fellow drivers had violated the employment law by working for 15 hours in a day. Germann asked the drivers not to drive for more than 15 hours in a day even their superiors asked them to do so. Upon realizing this, the company fired Germann. The court determined that the company did not fire Germann due to ethnic utterances as the company CalMat alleged (Perritt, 2006).

Conclusion

Human capital is the most important asset of an organization. Human capital includes employees and customers of the organization. Employees determine the productivity of the organization. Therefore, it is critical for an organization to have good relations with its employees. In addition, organizations should undertake measures that would protect it from litigation by employees. Litigation due to wrongful treatment of employees may have huge financial repercussions on an organization. It may taint the image and reputation of the company. Therefore, as the HR vice president of Apple I would undertake measures to prevent litigation by disgruntled employees. Protecting the organization from potential litigation would help protect the image and reputation of the company.

References

Cole, G.A. (2002). Personnel and human resource management. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Fay, J. (2007). Encyclopedia of security management. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Hayes, D.K. & Ninemeier, J.D. (2008). Human resource management in the hospitality industry. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Kuzmits, F.E, Thacker, R.A. & Osbourn, M.A. (1991). Negligent hiring: Reducing the risk. Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal. Vol. 4, Issue 3. Pp. 203-214.

Perritt, H.H. (2006). Employee dismissal law and practice. New York: Aspen Publishers.

Portillo, J. & Block, W. (2012). Anti-discrimination laws: Undermining our rights. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 109, Issue 2. Pp. 209-217.

Shi, L. (2007). Managing human resources in health care organizations. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Tomlinson, E. & Bockanic, W. (2009). Avoiding liability for wrongful termination: “Ready, aim,…fire!” Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal. Vol. 21, Issue 2. pp. 77-87.

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