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Public personnel and strategic human resource management                             Final Exam                           ...
Organizational effectiveness and employee performance are influenced by amyriad of environmental and personal factors. Emp...
employees, it can prove to be burdensome on the employer. For example, employer losesqualified workforce and spends money ...
The ADA requires that employers make accommodations for their disabledemployees, provided such accommodations do not creat...
(National Association of Catholic School Teachers), founded in 1978, and others that“provide the vital services that make ...
In a more recent court ruling, a so-called class-of-one protection (Roberts, 2008,p.1) was created by the Supreme Court’s ...
factors. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidelines of 1980defines sexual harassment as: “unwelcome s...
the human resources managers ensured a workplace is free of harassment anddiscrimination by publishing anti-discrimination...
communicated to applicants. Other factors include health and wellness benefits andflexible schedules that applicants will ...
ReferencesAmerican Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees Webpagehttp://www.afscme.orgAssociation of Pennsylvania ...
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Human resources management final paper

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This paper discusses that organizational effectiveness and employee performance are influenced by a myriad of environmental and personal factors.

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Human resources management final paper

  1. 1. Public personnel and strategic human resource management Final Exam By Nargiza Jedwab                                                      
  2. 2. Organizational effectiveness and employee performance are influenced by amyriad of environmental and personal factors. Employee morale, working conditions,benefits afforded to employees, opportunities for professional development, availabilityof legal protections and many other variables impact the performance of each employee,whereby influencing the overall organizational effectiveness. As a result of legislations such as Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americanswith Disabilities Act (ADA) and other constitutional protections, public sector employeesare afforded various legal protections at the workplace. Private sector employers mustalso be in compliance with these laws; however there are some differences in therequirements private sector employers must adhere to. In many cases FMLA and ADAoverlap and employers must be aware of these statutes. In order use these protectionseffectively and prevent disruption of organizational activity, every employer andemployee must be aware of these legislations and if necessary seek legal counsel. Family Medical Leave Act, introduced by the Clinton Administration in 1993 isintended to balance the employer demand with the needs of families. Under this Actemployer responsibility begins from notifying employers about the existence of FMLAprovisions, to allowing employees return to their workplace and seniority. FMLA’s someof the most important provisions are: allowing men and women to balance their work andfamily lives while protecting them from employer interference in the freedoms ensuredby the Act, as well as unfair discharges and discrimination shown towards any employeewho has taken the FMLA leave (French, p.74, 2009). While FMLA is aimed at helping   2  
  3. 3. employees, it can prove to be burdensome on the employer. For example, employer losesqualified workforce and spends money on the absent employee’s health coverage whilethe employee receives no payment for the duration of leave. The government also provides civil protections for employees with disabilities.According to the ADA, an individual with a disability is one who has a record ofimpairment, whether it is physical or mental, which restricts them in major life activities.The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by president H. W.Bush in 1990 and amended by president G.W. Bush in 2008. In some cases mitigating measures are used to lessen the effects of a disability.Courts of law, making decisions on case-by-case method, established that mitigatingmeasures do not necessarily do away with a disability, and an existence of a disabilityshould not immediately assume to limit someone’s capacity to do their job (Massengil,2004, p.185) For example, in the case of Service v. Union Pacific Rail Road Co, anasthmatic person would suffer from suffocation when exposed to tobacco smoke, wasconsidered disabled under the ADA, although they used an inhaler to lessen the effect ofasthma. Thus, employers should not assume that because an employee is using amitigating measure, they are no longer disabled. In the case of Saks v. Franklin CoveryCo, the court established that the plaintiff was considered disabled under the ADA notbecause her condition affected her job performance, but because being infertile isconsidered a disability within the meaning of the ADA. In the same vein, employeesshould not assume that because they use mitigating measures, they are disabled under theADA.   3  
  4. 4. The ADA requires that employers make accommodations for their disabledemployees, provided such accommodations do not create a burden on the organization.Several factors such as the size of an organization, structure and resources woulddetermine whether it would be considered a financial burden for an organization toaccommodate a disabled employee. A reasonable accommodation of a disabled employeemay include but not limited to: change of schedule, modification of equipment and anadditional unpaid leave. During the hiring process, employers may not ask about theapplicant’s health condition and any disabilities, or require them to undergo a medicalexamination, however employer may ask about their ability to perform job functions.Current and prospective employees engaged in the illegal use of drugs are not protectedby the ADA. A unique and at times controversial system of protection afforded to publicemployees and which is becoming increasingly popular in the private sector, are labourunions. The origin of unions dates back to 1963 when the practice of collectivebargaining was first introduced by an executive order #10988, with the state of Wisconsinwas to first allow collective bargaining (Lecture notes, Dr. Holoviak). According to the Department of Labor Statistics, in 2009, 37.4% of publicemployees are considered unionized compared to only 7.2% of the private sectorworkers. As the union population grows, nonprofits are projected to be the next growinggroup of unionized workforce (Lecture notes, Dr. Holoviak). Some of the unions,representing employees of various organizations, include AFSCME (American Federal,State, County and Municipal Employees) founded in 1932, APSCUF (Association ofPennsylvania State College and University Faculties), founded in 1937, NACST   4  
  5. 5. (National Association of Catholic School Teachers), founded in 1978, and others that“provide the vital services that make America happen and advocate for prosperity andopportunity for all working families” (www.afscme.org). Unions engage in a collectivebargaining process with employers in order to negotiate salary, benefits, workingconditions and other provisions of employees they represent. In addition, one of the mostimportant functions of unions is to provide support to employees during grievances andlegal proceedings. Some of the rights of public employees rest on various decisions of the court oflaw. For instance, the right to free speech (Pickeing v.Board of Education, 1968), theright to privacy (Norton v. Macy, 1989), freedom of religion (Sherbert v. Verner, 1963)and many others demonstrate that public sector employees are afforded a number ofprotections. One of the court’s landmark decisions established a precedent that anindividual’s job in the public sector is their property, of which they cannot be deprivedwithout the due process of law, guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S.Constitution (Goldberg v. Kelly 397 U.S. 254, 1970). The due process clause means thatan employee must be presented an opportunity to hold an evidentiary hearing tochallenge their dismissal. However, the Supreme Court’s decisions on the applicability ofthe due process depended on the demands of a particular situation. The case Matthews v.Eldridge 424 U.S. 319 (1976) introduced the following three-part balance test whichwould determine the outcomes of similar cases: 1) private interest affected by the agencyaction; 2) risk of erroneous depravation of such interest though the procedures used; 3)government interest, that is fiscal and administrative burdens that additional procedureswould involve.   5  
  6. 6. In a more recent court ruling, a so-called class-of-one protection (Roberts, 2008,p.1) was created by the Supreme Court’s decision of Village of Willbrook v. Olech, 2000,which reads that public employees can bring lawsuits on the basis of having beenintentionally treated differently from others in similar situations (Village of Willowbrookv. Olech, 2000, p. 562) As a result of this court decision, many public employees broughtlawsuits against their employers even in cases when uncertainty existed of whetherdiscrimination ever took place. Roberts (2008) in his paper “The Supreme Court and TheContinuing Deconstitutionalization of Public Personnel Management.” argues that thedecision of Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture, 2008b created a precedentagainst the use of class-of-one equal protection, i.e. this decision serves as an effort “todeconstitutionalize public personnel administration and instead encourage the use of perse rules (Roberts, p.2. 2008). “ According to Roberts (2008), many public employeeswelcome greater deference given to personnel policies, however, if this continues to takeplace in the Justice Roberts court, decisions of such nature will diminish the uniquenessof the public sector and the protections offered to its employees. Roberts (2008) suggeststhat: “…the ongoing deconstitutionalization of public personnel management hassignificant implications for the management of public organizations. If the trendcontinues, public employees, much like their private sector counterparts, will becomemuch more dependent on statutory protections and collective bargaining agreements toprotect them from arbitrary personnel decisions.” (Roberts, p.1, 2008)     According to a poll conducted in 2004, one in five Americans have worked inhostile environments, where they experienced some form of discrimination or harassment(Findlaw, July 2004). In more detail, a hostile work environment can constitute workingconditions where an employee experiences harassment based on race, colour, sex or other   6  
  7. 7. factors. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidelines of 1980defines sexual harassment as: “unwelcome sexual advances, requests, for sexual favors,and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Furthermore, sexual harassmentcan be categorized as quid pro quo, that is when a superior demands sexual relations withan employee as a condition of keeping one’s job; or as an environment, which interfereswith an employee’s work performance and that creates an intimidating or offensive workenvironment (Civil Rights Act, Title VII, 1965). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of1964 governs the harassment and discrimination practices providing an understanding toemployer and employees their rights and responsibilities and proper procedures to befollowed should a need to address discrimination arises. The first court case that defined the meaning of hostile work environment wasMeritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, et al that took place in 1968. In 1998 the SupremeCourt’s landmark cases Burlington Industries v. Ellerth and Faragher v. City of BocaRaton established that under certain conditions an employer may be held liable and thatan employer “may use a defense against liability in claims of supervisory sexualharassment or discrimination” (Crumpacker, p.2, 2007). These two cases established the Ellerth-Faragher affirmative defense, whichprotects an employer from liability for a discharge, demotion, or undesirable transfer ofan employee. However, for such an affirmative defense to apply, the employer mustprove that: they made provisions for prevention and correction of any kind of harassmentand that the plaintiff-employee failed to take advantage of any preventive or correctiveopportunities provided by the employer. In the case of Pennsylvania State Police v. Suder(2004), the court clarified that the Ellerth-Faragher defense can be applied in cases when   7  
  8. 8. the human resources managers ensured a workplace is free of harassment anddiscrimination by publishing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, complaintprocedures, training of staff on these procedures and by following a process of review ofsuch procedures and other means. Nevertheless, it is important for managers and theirsubordinates to remember that when a legal action is brought upon an organization,courts of law have to balance the needs of agencies with the needs of employees. Employee performance is influenced by a number of variables. A productiveemployee is someone whose personal goals are aligned with the goals of the organizationthey work for. Factors such as work environment, which can start from a type of an officespace, responsibilities, to relationships with colleagues and superiors, can havesignificant impact on how employees perform at their jobs and influence their dedicationto the organization. Many people enter jobs with ambitions of professional growth,monetary rewards, securing retirement benefits and many other reasons. Thus, it is amanager’s responsibility to make effort to notice potential in their employees and provideopportunities for growth as well as accommodating employees’ other needs within thelimits of organization’s resources. Availability of these provisions will help managersretain and attract the best workforce on the market. Selden (2009) suggests that employers invest in training in order to increasepsychological commitment to the organization. The organization that provides trainingfor their employees shows a level of trust and commitment to its employees, whichreciprocates towards the employer (Selden, p.87, 2009) Training may also be used toattract highly qualified employees but this has to be clearly and strategically   8  
  9. 9. communicated to applicants. Other factors include health and wellness benefits andflexible schedules that applicants will take in consideration. Selden (p.85, 2009) alsosuggests that a number of organizations spend their capital on training to address specificorganizational needs, which could range from managing people, conflict resolution,project management, facilitation skills and many others. In addition to environmental accommodations, human resources managers, mustbe aware of various legislative provisions in order to better serve their employees andprotect employer interests. Since various laws and legal principles define human resourcefunctions of government agencies, it is important that administrators are knowledgeableabout such laws. Failure to do so will put organizations at risk of being brought to courtin cases when lawsuits can be prevented, resulting in unwarranted financial burden anddisruption of organizational activities. Other factors such as succession planning, merit-based pay systems, integrating diversity, rewarding employee performance and dealingwith poor performers have an impact on organizational performance. A well-experiencedmanager will take a holistic approach to employ these factors to enable a successfulachievement of organizational goals.   9  
  10. 10. ReferencesAmerican Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees Webpagehttp://www.afscme.orgAssociation of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties Webpagehttp://www.apscuf.comCrumpacker, Martha and Crumpacker, Jill. 2007. “The U.S. Supreme Court ClarifiesConstructive Discharge Under Title VII.” Public Personnel Management, 36;1-19.Daley, Dennis. 2008. “The Burden of Dealing with Poor Performers: Wear and Tear onSupervisory Organizational Engagement.” Review of Public Personnel Administration,28; 44-59.Fisher, Rod. 2009. Administrative Law. Lecture notes.French, P. Edward. 2009. “Implications of the Family and Medical Leave Act for LocalGovernments: Helping Administrators Understand the Law:” Review of Public PersonnelAdministration, 29;76-88.Holoviak, Paula. 2010. Strategic Personnel and Human Resource Management. Lecturenotes.Massengill, Douglas. 2004. “How Much Better Are You? Impairments, MitigatingMeasures and the Determination of Disability.” Public Personnel Management, 33;181-199.Pynes, Joan E. and Newman, Meredith A. 2001. “Nonprofit Sector Unionization andGender Equity: Learning Lessons From a Case Study of Teacher Organization in the St.Louis Archdiocese.” Review of Public Personnel Administration, 21;5-26.Roberts, Robert. 2008. “The Supreme Court and The Continuing Deconstitutionalizationof Public Personnel Management.” Review of Public Personnel Administration., 28;1-17.Selden, Sally. 2009. “Human Capital: Tools and Strategies for the Public Sector”, CQ.Press   10  

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