November 8, 2010
Instructor: Gwendolyn Burrell
Human Resource Law
In this outline we will discuss five key regulatory areas of discussion. We will be discussing the employment law and the legal principles of employment. We will be closing with both legal compliance and ethical behavior in employment.
Employee privacy is already fairly restricted in many respects in many of Americas large corporations. Employee privacy issues have surged to the forefront of the business press in recent years, spurred on by changing workplace dynamics and a litigation-conscious business environment. While stipulations on employee privacy parameters vary from state to state, legal experts state that private sector employees have fewer rights than they commonly believe. The U.S. Constitutions First Amendment free-speech clause and the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures apply only to action by the government, not to private-sector employers.
Monitoring of employee behavior, both in and out of the workplace, has undergone a dramatic increase in recent years. Scrutiny of job applicants has intensified, and this has fueled a boom in companies that do database searches of applicants credit reports, driving and court records, and even workers compensation claims. Personal behavior is no longer off-limits. Some firms have adopted rules that limit co-workers dating. Others ban off-the-clock smoking and drinking. Many companies regularly test for drugs. Much of this is done without the workers knowledge. Each business owner has to decide or his or herself how much privacy employees are entitled to on an ethical level. To ensure that employee privacy procedures and policies are understood by managers, supervisors, and employees, communication is important. Through communication, employee privacy procedures and policies are disseminated within the employers organization. Communication assures knowledge, understanding, and consistent application of privacy procedures and policies.
Unions represent groups of employees in certain trades and professions, and engage in “collective bargaining” negotiation between an employer and unionized employees in whom certain work conditions and terms of employment are decided. The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) guarantee certain rights to union members and imposes certain responsibilities on union officers. The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) enforces many LMRDA provisions while union members through private suit in Federal court may only enforce other provisions, such as the bill of rights.
Union Member Rights
Bill of Rights
??? Equal rights to participate in union activities
??? Freedom of speech and assembly
??? Voice in setting rates of dues, fees, and assessments
??? Protection of the right to sue
??? Safeguard against improper discipline
The NLRA establishes procedures for selection of a labor organization to represent employees in a collective bargaining agreement, and employers are forbidden from interfering in this process. Unions represent employees in collective bargaining processes with employers on a number of issues, including:
??? Wage and salary negotiations
??? Benefits like health care insurance and paid time off
??? General on-the-job working conditions; and
??? Health and safety standards in the workplace
Under the NLRA, the employer is required to bargain solely with the representative chosen by the employees. ? Unions representing a large number of workers are usually in a better negotiating position than the workers would be individually.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
You have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) were passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires that employers provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers MUST provide their employees with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires that employers have to try to eliminate or reduce hazards first by making changes in working conditions rather than just relying on masks, gloves, ear plugs or other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to get rid of or minimize risks. The OSH Act protects workers who complain to their employer, OSHA or other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthful working conditions in the workplace or environmental problems. You cannot be transferred, denied a raise, have your hours reduced, be fired, or punished in any other way because you used any right afforded to you under the OSHA Act.