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Old Smoke

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Explain how you would handle the situation if you were Charles Renfold.

If I were Charles Renfold, I would have implemented measures prior to the situation to prevent the conflict from happening. It is important to note that the room where Frank and Alice work is the “main files room” and it is not exclusive to the two employees only. Many employees like Darlene also visit the main files room when they need to. For this reason, smoking should have been banned in the main files room in the first place. Frank and Alice smoking in the main files room reflect ineffective management in Redwood Associates. The company should have created a smoking area in the workplace for smokers like Frank and Alice, which is a separate room or a space from the rooms that both non-smokers and smokers could access like the main files room. However, since the conflict already happened, Renfold could have addressed the issue in a fair manner. Based on the case, Renfold defended Frank and Alice without considering Darlene’s point.

Thus, if I were Renfold, I would have called Frank and Alice and discuss the issue with them in front of Darlene by looking at both sides. Darlene cannot demand that Frank and Alice stop smoking because they have their rights but Frank and Alice should also show respect for office space and towards their co-workers by smoking in spaces where non-smokers also go. Moreover, a separate space for smokers should also be allocated for Alice and Frank. The company may go as far as to conduct a seminar on smoking in the workplace, the risks involved, etc. and express how the staff could serve as a support system for the employees who choose to quit smoking. Doing this would contribute to establishing the company’s values and social responsibility (Kearns, 2009).

In terms of Darlene’s refusal to work on the required report, Renfold could have avoided the conflict by listening to Darlene and not dismissing her feelings or concerns about Alice and Frank smoking in the main files room. After defending Alice and Frank, Renfold dismissed Darlene without giving her feelings a second thought. Thus, the situation could have been avoided and Darlene could not have adopted a negative attitude towards work if Renfold approached the subject fairly. For instance, Renfold could have explained the valid and fair points that Darlene made. As a supervisor, Renfold could have validated why Darlene’s feelings against smoking are founded, by using words like “I understand your issue about working in a non-conducive place.” The situation should have been handled fairly and with the presence of the other parties involved.

Describe the policy on smoking that you would recommend to Redwood Associates.

As previously discussed, I would choose to recommend a strategy that helps Redwood Associates not only resolve the specific problem between Darlene, Alice, and Frank, but also to establish social responsibility and values in the organization. While it is important to respect the rights of employees who choose to smoke, Redwood Associates should also take a stand for social responsibility by protecting other employees who do not smoke. At first, Redwood Associates should allocate a respectable space for smokers like Alice and Frank, away from workspaces where non-smokers also spend their time working. However, Redwood Associates should also exhibit responsibility by encouraging quitting among smokers as a means of showing value to employees.

Redwood Associates could accomplish this by conducting a seminar that educates employees about the risks of smoking and then implementing HR policies that smokers could access if they plan to quit smoking. The strategy is to let smokers at Redwood Associates smoke, but also become a leader in social responsibility by encouraging them to quit, and provide a support system through human resources for those who decide to do so. Redwood Associates should implement HR policies to help promote the cause (Post, Lawrence, & Weber, 2002).

Explain how this case would change if what bothers Darlene was not old smoke but

the smell of Alice’s perfume or Frank’s body odor.

The previous recommendation means that the issue involves the entire company. However, if Alice’s perfume or Frank’s body odor merely bothered Darlene, then management need not implement company-wide rules like conducting a seminar or implementing HR policies and creating a support system. The issue would be handled privately with Alice and Frank in the presence of Human Resources where they would be advised about proper grooming and conduct at work. Perhaps the management could go as far as to issue a memorandum that would inform all employees about proper grooming in the office. In addition, HR should ensure that private issues like it could be discussed comfortably in private with the help of management (CCH, 2010). 

Explain whether it is fair or reasonable for companies to ban employees from

smoking in their cars in the company parking lot.

It is only fair and reasonable for companies to ban employees from smoking in their cars in the company parking lot because it is part of the company’s space or property. Outside the organization’s premises, employees are free to smoke. However, while they are within the premises of the organization, they should not smoke especially if management bans it. Therefore, they can implement policies they choose, especially if they feel that it would benefit the entire organization and mitigate health and safety risks. Smoking, after all, is not part of work or employment. Smoking is a personal choice that employees chose to engage in and if it interferes with work and employee’s relationship in the office, then companies have the right to prevent smokers from indulging in their habits.

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