Essay Questions on Labor Relations
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Q1. Non-Solicitation Policy
Most companies ensure that their employees work without distractions during working hours. This ensures that they have maximum concentration on performing their duties, thus increasing their productivity. Most companies prohibit solicitation during working hours or in work-designated areas so as to avoid disruptions of the employees while at work. The non-solicitation policy does not apply only to the employees while on duty. Some companies prohibit the solicitation by people who are employees of the company on company owned or leased property at any time (Lawson, 1998).
Thus, the “employee” contravenes the non-solicitation policy of the company. While off duty, he engages in solicitation within the businesses premises. The next day he engages in solicitation while on duty. Asking one of the employees to consider signing a union authorization card violates the non-solicitation policy of the company.
The continued solicitation activities of the employee prompt the management to give him a “coaching session” for violation of the non-solicitation policy of the company. Therefore, the Union had no legitimate grounds to file an Unfair Labor Practice charge. In fact, it should be grateful that the company did not take stern action against the employee due to his violation of the company’s policies. In view of the above facts, the Board would find the company not guilty of any Unfair Labor Charge as indeed, the employee engages in solicitation within the company’s premises both while off duty and while on duty. The Board should, thus, dismiss the charges filed by the union. This is mainly because the charges are baseless and the management was merely performing its work in giving “coaching lesson” on the non-solicitation policy of the organization to the employee.
Q2. Employee Grievances
One of the fundamental aspects of contracts or formal employment is the fact that employees can express their grievances. This may happen if they feel that the company treats them unfairly by violating the terms of their contract. The main purpose of grievance processes is to ensure that employees can raise genuine grievances without any fear of victimization by the company. The company should deal with grievances promptly. In most instances, the employee’s immediate manager should be the one responsible for dealing with the grievances. Companies should have a positive attitude while dealing with the employees’ grievances and refrain from branding the employee a troublemaker, as this would alienate the employee and further exacerbate the problem (Macdonald 2008).
The employee had presented more than a dozen grievances within a three-year period. This made the manager brand him as a troublemaker. This alienated the employee and aggravated the problems that the employee was facing, since he was no longer free to express his grievances. Afterwards, the employee got into a dispute with a co-worker. This made the management issue him with a warning that another instance would lead to the termination of his employment. This exacerbates his alienation and exposes him to the wrath of witch-hunters within the company. During a normal conversation with other employees, he made comments that were derisive on another employee not present. After learning of the comments made by the employee, albeit second hand, the insulted employee brought it to the attention of the company. This culminated in the firing of the employee by the organization. This was regardless of the fact that vulgar comments were common in this workplace.
In dealing with the issue, the NLRB should consider how the management dealt with the grievances raised by the employee during the three-year period. Moreover, the NLRB should consider whether the employee's grievances were genuine or trivial. Should the NLRB find that the issues were genuine but the management did not handle them efficiently prior to branding of the employee a troublemaker, then the management would be at fault and should reinstate the employee. However, should it conclude that the issues were trivial, the management was correct in branding the employee as a troublemaker. However, dismissal of the employee due to the comments he made was wrong since the comments are “normal” conversation within the workplace.
Q3. Annual Leave
To ensure that the employees have optimum productivity, organizations attempt to meet the welfare of the employees. Labor regulations demand that employees should be liable for paid annual leave. The annual leave should not be less than 20 days. This is in addition to the national holidays. The duration of the annual leave is dependent on many factors. The working hours of the employee and the nature of contract the employee has with the organization are some of the key factors that dictate its length. Virtually all employees are eligible for annual leave, regardless of whether they are fulltime or part-time employed. Employees employed on part-time basis are eligible to annual vacation on a pro rata basis as full time employed employees (Robertson, 2007).
Therefore, the employee should get annual vacation due to the fact that he is among the company’s workforce. In addition, the Collective Bargaining Agreement of the company ensurees that “all” the employees of the company are liable for paid annual leave. The fact that there is no clause exempting part-time employees means that the high school senior is liable for paid annual vacation. However, the employee is not eligible for a full two-week paid vacation. He works for two hours every Friday. Therefore, a two-week vacation is tantamount to two working days of the employee.
Since all employees are liable for paid annual vacation, the HR should devise a formula that is legally acceptable in calculating the duration of annual leave of employees whose employment is on part-time basis.
Q4. Possession of Weapons in the Workplace
There have been several occurrences of shootings in the workplace. This is despite the fact that organizations attempt to ensure that employees work in an environment that is as safe as possible. This is through the implementation of a zero tolerance policy on violence in the workplace. The organizations have, therefore, instituted policies that prohibit the possession of firearms or dangerous weapons within the company premises. People found in possession of firearms within the company premises face disciplinary action that may include termination of employment. Most policies disregard whether the individual has the permit to carry a concealed weapon (Denenberg & Braverman, 2001).
In the case in question, a security suspected that a female worker was in possession of a firearm. After unilaterally searching the female employee’s locker, he found a firearm in her purse, thereby confirming his suspicion. However, when ordered to empty the contents of her purse during quitting time, she refused. By doing so, the security guard fails to get the much-needed evidence for the female employee to face disciplinary action. This is regardless of the fact that the security guard had initially found the weapon concealed in her purse. The management does not have tangible evidence that there was a firearm in the female employee's purse. In addition, by unilaterally searching the female employee’s locker and purse, he intrudes her privacy.
Furthermore, all the employees fired prior to this case had threatened their fellow employees using firearms. Therefore, it is pertinent to say that people came with the firearms to the workplace with the intent of threatening their co-workers. However, the female employee did not threaten anybody within the work premises. In addition, by concealing her firearm in her bag, she did not pose any danger to other employees of the organization. In light of the above facts, the arbitrator should revoke the discharge of the female employee by the organization.