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Legal Issues In Human Resources Management

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Category: Business

Autor: anton 05 January 2011

Words: 1026 | Pages: 5

ARTICLE REVIEW ON

LEGAL ISSUES IN HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

Grade: A (95%)

ARTICLE:

Solnik, C. (2006, September). Employers told to prevent sexual harassment through policies, training, and procedures. St. Charles County Business Record (MO).

FRAMEWORK:

This article was written based on an incident that took place in an end-of-the-year holiday party at an unidentified company. The incident involved a female and a male employee and resulted in a sexual-harassment complaint by the female employee. Although the article was written based on this incident, its main goal was to teach or point out to employers the major consequences they will face by not taking preventive measures to avoid such incidents, what they can do to prevent them from happening, and what they should do if they occur. It discussed the legal issues surrounding sexual harassment, how these laws came about, its trend over the years, and the actions taken in the particular incident mentioned. Even though the article focused on sexual harassment, its scope went beyond just the concept of sexual harassment that the preventive measures discussed can be applied to almost any legal issue in Human Resources Management.

MAJOR POINTS:

Introduced using the story of an unacceptable behavior at a party that led to a complaint, the article made three important points:

1. Prevention is more important when it comes to legal matters than finding solution after a problem exists.

As stated in the article, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Employers who do not take the Equal Employment Opportunity laws and other related ordinances seriously, and do not spend enough time in implementing preventive measures to avoid situations that can lead to lawsuits, will have a difficult, expensive, and less efficient workplace.

2. Despite the falling trend in the number of complaints reported over the years, the issue of sexual harassment should not be ignored in the workplace.

The article indicated that the number of complaints made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declined for six straight years in part because companies are putting more effort in solving problems before they become lawsuits. However, it stressed the fact that sexual harassment is not a thing of the past, and that it is an employer’s responsibility and legal obligation to maintain a workplace that is free of such violations.

3. In addition to putting proper policies and procedures in place, orientation and continuous periodic training are the best ways to prevent litigation problems from occurring.

The article also points out that adopting a sexual harassment policy and monitoring workplace may not be the only viable solutions when it comes to sexual harassment. Training supervisors and managers, as well as employees, is the major step in preventing sexual harassment, and that periodic training, which is actually the law in some states, is required besides the original orientation.

METHODOLOGY AND EPISTEMOLOGY:

The article was well thought out and written in terms of defining sexual harassment, explaining the legal issues involved, and describing what needs to be done to prevent it from happening in a workplace. The fact that it did not give a clear cut case of sexual harassment gives the reader an opportunity to understand what defines sexual harassment, and what an employer needs to do when facing such a complaint, which is conducting an internal investigation, interviewing the parties involved and witnesses. The outcome that the company concluded the action, although inappropriate, was not sexual harassment further clarifies the definition. The article also mentions the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 to explain the basis of the rules, and gives further analysis using different explanation methods to clarify the legal issues involved. In order to describe prevention methods, the article straightforwardly states what an employer needs to do, training, saying it is the law.

The article’s approach and statements made on how to deal with legal matters are valid and true. Managing harassment and discrimination problems is not only an obligation as discussed, but also makes good business sense. Maintaining a workplace free of discrimination and harassment, doing whatever is necessary to prevent complaints from occurring in the first place, and stopping them before they reach the level of lawsuits are acceptable methods of dealing with legal issues.

Quality and Utility:

Even though I have not yet encountered sexual harassment or other discrimination litigation problems in my current organization, such cases were very common in two other organizations that I have worked for, which were among the largest corporations in the nation. One common thing in these organizations was that I personally did not receive any training regarding Equal Employment Opportunity laws. The information presented about these laws, in my current organization are printings posted on information bulletin boards, and in the larger organizations were employee handbooks. As such, the article’s information would be very useful to my current or previous organizations in that it will enlighten Human Resources or those in charge to properly educate employees, supervisors, and managers through orientation and periodic trainings. For example, the excellent information contained in this article would have made a difference during the time when four employees in my own department were facing investigation and disciplinary actions because of a harassment complaint filed by one female employee. It was clear that if those employees were given proper training and periodic reminders to avoid complacency, the situation could have been easily prevented. As the article stated, prevention through training is better, and is possible.

CONCLUSION:

After reading and reviewing the article, I was able to conclude that there can be few principles employers or Human Resources can follow that would minimize the risk of Equal Employment Opportunity violation lawsuits, and maximize employee satisfaction. Besides adopting clear policies and procedures regarding these laws, or updating them to make sure they are in compliance with current laws, training managers, supervisors, or those who are in the front lines, as well as employees if possible, is the best way to prevent such litigation problems. People with basic working understanding of the laws are less likely to violate them, and the investment in training will worth more in saving time and money.

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