This essay will focus on the motivation in the phrase “Common sense and compassion in the workplace has been replaced by litigation. ” As a business relationship emerges between an employer and employee negotiations, agreements, rules, and guidelines are formed. Normally these arrangements and duties are established through the human resources (HR) department along with expectations that an individual will perform their job with acceptable common sense and compassion if necessary. However, it currently appears that common sense or compassion has been exchanged for lawsuits within the workplace.
Ultimately this has forced the HR department to become more apprehensive with concerns of legal, safety, and regulatory requirements surrounding employees and protecting the organization. In agreement with the above statement, the following information will examine legal, safety, and regulatory processes. The Legal Process versus Common Sense and Compassion Today’s legal process in the workplace consists of federal and state laws, civil service rules, collective bargaining agreements, contracts, company personnel handbooks, and employer practices (American Bar Association Family Legal Guide, 2004).
However as most employees show their colorful personalities at work when abiding by these guidelines, misinterpretations can arise offending others. Their actions or activities can unfortunately bring forth lawsuits against the individuals or the organization. For example, a manager with a flamboyant way of addressing employees, giving orders, or even telling jokes can turn in to a legal battle. The managers’ actions may be their ways of incorporating a more personal work atmosphere in hopes of making the employees feel relaxed and productive, but the employees can perceive it as creating a hostile work environment.
A boss or a coworker can create a hostile work environment if his or her communications, behaviors, or action appears in a discriminatory nature, and it interferes with an individual’s job performance (Heathfield, 2012). The legal process within the human resources department tries to format strategies and alliances that avoid negative activities affecting the employers and employees; however, exhibitions using common sense or compassion can conflict with these guidelines creating inappropriate behaviors. If this becomes the case, disciplinary actions begin bringing about other matters of legal issues.
Nevertheless, once an individual believes they have been illegally mistreated, they become more apt to submit a lawsuit for purposes of revenge, financial struggles, or inapt employment securities (Alboher, 2012). The Safety Process versus Common Sense and Compassion The human resources process has to accompany both the employee and employer in regard to safety issues. An employee wants the assurance of safe and healthy working conditions; anything less exposes danger to their own wellbeing. In addition employees must take heed to precautions design by the organization.
However an employer wants to avoid expenditures in overhead by cutting cost or corners often putting their employees at harmful risk. In addition, organizations also have a lawful obligation in which they have to provide a safe workplace by preventing accidents, hazards, serious injuries or accident-related deaths. Negligence on either behalf can result in determination, fines, citations, work-related accidents, and even lawsuits. Litigation has brought safety concerns to the forefront of commitments between the employee and the employer.
This becomes evident in reviewing shocking numbers of occupational illnesses, injures, or deaths since 1996 (Shapiro, 1999). To ensure the safety of the employees and the protection of the organization, companies are becoming more enforcing in healthful working conditions incorporated by the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) of the 1970s. (United States Department of Labor, n. d. ). According to the OSHA Act, an employer has to set safety standard guidelines in addition to providing education, training and outreach toward their employees surrounding safety issues.
It is perceivable that common sense plays an important factor in the minds of an employee toward his or her safety in doing their job; however the workplace still contains a multitude of dangerous hazards unbeknownst or inevitable to happen in the performance of a job requirement. The Regulatory Process vs. Common Sense and Compassion “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights (United States Department of Labor, 2012). This statement is the mission of the United States Department of Labor and can also be interpreted as the approach human resources has in creating the regulatory process. This process is the heartbeat of the HR department. It is mandatory requirements that are established by the federal, state, and local law levels (Odina, 2012). These regulations are put into effect with specific set requirements on legal or illegal activities. Money- responsibilities-security-job is the standard current cycle in society.
Litigation becomes established when an individual feels that the cycle is threaten or broken. For example a single mom takes a leave of absence to give birth; in returning to her job she finds out she no longer has a job. She starts investigating the laws surrounding the pregnancy leave learning that her termination was illegal. Litigation begins to correct the actions or compensate her. It would appear that it is common sense that she needs her job just becoming a new single mom nonetheless the employer has obligations to continue his business.
Avoidance in complaints and costly penalties is only assured if the organizations are educated in legislations. The Department of Labor, state agencies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions, and the National Labor Relations Board work hand in hand to enforce all employment-related laws covering the entire scope of employment (Odina, 2012). In conclusion, Today’s work societies continually create complications within the human resources department involving the work environment.
Issues such as privacy, legal rights, sexual harassment, equality, and discrimination will produce legal consequences as well as monetary compensation pertaining to the employees and the organization. Although the HR department’s obligations is to process the legal, safety, and regulatory guidelines into their procedures to avoid these conflicts, litigations surrounding these issues seem to be increasing greatly. Proving that common sense or compassion recently has little acceptance with both the employee and employer.
Alboher, M. 2012, August). After Losing Jobs, More Workers Sue. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://shiftingcareers. blogs. nytimes. com/2008/10/09/first-layoffs-then-lawsuits/ American Bar Association Family Legal Guide. (2004). What is the Law of the Workplace? Retrieved from http://shiftingcareers. blogs. nytimes. com/2008/10/09/first-layoffs-then-lawsuits/ Heathfield, S. (2012). Hostile Work Environment: What Makes a Work Environment Hostile? Retrieved from http://shiftingcareers. blogs. nytimes. com/2008/10/09/first-layoffs-then-lawsuits/ Odina, R. 2012). Legal Regulatory Requirements on the Human Resource Process. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness. chron. com/legal-regulatory-requirements-human-resource-process-20590. html Shapiro, S. (1999). Occupational Safety and Health Regulations. Retrieved from http://encyclo. findlaw. com/5540book. pdf United States Deparpment of Labor. (2012). Our Mission. Retrieved from http://www. dol. gov/opa/aboutdol/mission. htm United States Department of Labor. (n. d. ). OSHA Law & Regulations. Retrieved from http://www. osha. gov/law-regs. html
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