The relationship between employer and employees plays a pivotal role in the performance of the organization. Employers and employees have certain responsibilities towards each other which facilitate a fair and productive workplace. Positive work relationships create a cooperative climate with effort towards the same goals. Conflict, on the other hand, is likely to divert attention away from organizational performance.
Unnecessary conflict may be prevented through employee involvement and treating employees in a fair manner. Ethical employment practices, involving employees in decisions, and treating employees as valued organizational members all work towards a positive employer-employee relationship. Unfortunately, however, it sometimes becomes necessary for an outside party to help employers and employees resolve differences through processes such as mediation or arbitration. Taken together, positive engagement strategies and constructive resolution of differences help to develop relationships which support organizational performance and success.
Concepts of Employee Rights and Responsibilities
Legal considerations play an important role in how employers and employees interact in the workplace. Common-law doctrines regarding this relationship have been established from many legal decisions made over the course of centuries (Reed & Bogardus, 2012). Common-law doctrines lay the foundation for best practices in employment which provide for both employer and employee safeguards.
The doctrine of employment at-will provides that employers may hire, transfer, promote, or terminate employees at any time for any cause, and employees have the right to resign at any time with or without notice (Reed & Bogardus, 2012). However, in practice, employment at-will traditionally has given the most power to employers (Zachary, 2012). As a result, court decisions dictated exceptions. Employees may not be terminated on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or other discriminatory characteristics (Zachary, 2012). Statutes have prohibited adverse actions against employees due to whistle blowing, union activities, worker’s compensation claims, or refusing to perform illegal acts or acts against a public policy (Zachary, 2012). While early employment at-will ideas seemingly protected both employers and employees, it was later changes which established more solid safeguards for employees’ rights.
The employee right of due process calls for employers to use established procedures when taking employment actions against employees (Reed & Bogardus, 2012). This includes notifying employees of pending actions against them and providing them with the opportunity to respond to complaints before adverse employment decisions are made (Reed & Bogardus, 2012). Due process procedures are not required for private employers, however, Reed and Bogardus (2012) strongly suggested it is in employers’ best interests to practice...