1.What are the employee workplace rights mandated by U.S. Federal law?
2.Briefly discuss at least two controversial issues concerning workplace rights (other than monitoring e-mail). Provide real-life examples to illustrate your answer.
3.In addition, discuss the issue of workplace privacy. Specifically, do employees have the right to expect privacy in their e-mail conversations, or do companies have a right and/or responsibility to monitor e-mail?
Please submit your assignment
Draft a performance action plan for a company to follow when providing discipline in response to complaints of sexual harassment. Use the Library or other Web resources if needed.
Discrimination –Workplace Rights
The Department of Labor (DOL) directs the implementation of various federal laws concerning the workplace. One of the employee workplace rights is fair compensation, which is under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This act requires that employers pay their employees at least the minimum wage prescribed by the federal government and additionally pay overtime at prescribed rates (DOL, n.d). Another employee workplace right is the right to work in safe and healthy conditions. Employees have a right to work in environments that are free from various identified hazards (DOL, n.d). Employees have a right to reveal malpractices occurring within the organization without discrimination or termination of their employment. This is common in whistleblowing cases where organizational leaders are likely to take retaliatory action against whistleblowers.
Employees have the right to paid or unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks in the event of birth, adoption of a child, and/or illness of the employee or a close member of the family such as a child or spouse (DLO, n.d). This right is applicable where the company has more than 49 employees. Another employee workplace right is the right to receive early warning in the event of plant closing or downsizing. Employees should receive early warning of imminent layoffs. Employees have the right to fair treatment or nondiscrimination of any sort by the employers. As such, employers must refrain discriminating employees basing on sex, race, religion, disability, and among other factors.
One of the controversial issues concerning employee rights is post-hiring drug testing. Controversy exists over whether the employer may conduct drug tests among employees for various reasons (FindLaw, n.d). Some states have outlined clear guidelines under which the employer may conduct a drug test. The guidelines provide exceptions under which the employer may conduct drug tests. Examples of these guidelines include workers who have completed rehabilitation programs, workers whose jobs pose a great risk to themselves or the public, workers whom the management suspects of using drugs, and others. Although the employer may insist on conducting drug tests, the circumstances are not very clear. An employee may claim it is an invasion of his/her personal rights.
Another controversial issue is employee surveillance particularly on web usage and telephone conversations (FindLaw, n.d). Employers may monitor how employees use the company’s internet or the sites they visit while at work. In addition, employers may decide to monitor employee telephone conversations. It is not clear how the extent to which employers may monitor their employees’ telephone conversations or web usage. The Electronics Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) puts limitations on employers’ surveillance of employees. According to the act, the employer cannot monitor personal calls even if they were made using telephones at work (FindLaw, n.d). As such, it is not possible to draw a line as to the extent to which the employer may monitor calls by employees. For example, an employee may make a personal call but which could have a serious impact on the operations of the business.
Gender equality is still a controversial issue in the workplace. It is not clear how the employer should treat the issue of gender equality even with all the established legal guidelines under the federal law. Although the employer may treat women equally to their male counterparts, issues relating to gender quality may still crop up in the organization. For instance, an organization that offers women paid maternity leave but declines the same for men may appear controversial. Another controversy may emerge where same-sex couples especially men adopt a child but the organization does not give them paid leave.
The issue of workplace privacy is a controversial subject. Employees have a right to expect privacy while using their private or personal mail. Employees’ right to privacy may be limited while using their employer’s computer system to send and receive emails (FindLaw, n.d). If the employee uses the company’s computer systems, then the company has the right to monitor such emails. Personal privacy laws protect employees to the extent they rely on their own systems. For instance, the company may not demand for confidential information such as usernames and passwords for employee’s private mail or Facebook account (Electronic Privacy Information Center, n.d). Such actions would constitute a violation of privacy rights.
Performance Action Plan
The following is an action plan that the company may adopt when responding to complaints of sexual harassment.
Assess the company’s policy
The first step is to evaluate what the company policy says about incidences of sexual harassment. Every company must have a policy framework on how to handle incidences of sexual harassment.
Involve the legal department
Incidences of sexual harassment can lead serious litigation including heavy fines. As such, it is always advisable to involve the legal department in handling the incidences.
Notifying the Board of Directors
Incidences of sexual harassment in the organization should be reported to the board of directors. The board of directors may offer useful advice concerning the matter.
All incidences of sexual harassment should be thoroughly investigated to ensure the management understands the depth of them matter.
The last step is to take action based on the company’s anti-harassment policy.
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Workplace privacy. https://epic.org/privacy/workplace/
United States Department of Labor (DOL). (n.d). Summary of the major laws of the Department of Labor. Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/general/aboutdol/majorlaws