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Mba 560 Legal Issues In Reduction Of Workforce

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For the last decade, employer practices and the laws enacted by Congress have established guidelines that address employee/employer relationships. As a result, employment regulations and compliance laws, at times, make it difficult for a business to operate. However, on the bright side, employees are protected in every aspect of employment and employers have some guidance to help them administer employment.

The simulation is about the workforce reduction or downsizing of Fast Serve, Inc. Whatever the trend may be, it still means that employees are being relieved of their jobs. This issue is a very broad subject to address. The early 21st Century will, perhaps, be remembered for one very peculiar business phenomenon - a national economic slump precipitated by the failure of many "dot com" and technology businesses laying-off a multitude number of workers in the wake of those failures. If one company announces sweeping cuts in its workforce, expecting savings and increased profits, soon a horde of other companies follow suit, thus creating a domino effect on employment practices.

The Issue

As the senior manager of the Human Resources Department at Fast Serve, Inc., the Vice President of HR was instructed to implement the decision to discharge several employees in such a way that it translates into the maximum benefit to Fast Service, Inc. In making that decision, one also needs to consider the legal implications to the company of one's decision.

From the scenario, as the senior manager, you are to lay-off three employees out of the five presented to you. It is important that you use the data provided by HR as the guideline for your final decision. The company is expecting your recommendation in two weeks. Management is also expecting for you to be objective and for you to see the magnitude of the situation; the risks associated with your decision and the ramifications of your recommendation.

Based on the human resources data, the three employees who the senior management recommended for lay-off are: (1) Brian Carter, due to the fact that his skills are now redundant and that there is a genuine reason to off-load Brian, provided outplacement support is given, (2) Sara Boyd, her layoff is inevitable. The company should work out a severance package with her. Open communication will diminish the risk of litigation. This is extremely important as to Sara, due to her age and due to the fact that she is a full time employee, not to mention, that she has been loyal to the company for 15 years. (3) Jenny Mills. Her skills are non-critical to the company. A word of caution must be given as she is pregnant and she is protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (Reed-Shedd-Morehead, 2005).

Historically, unless employees contracted for a definite period of employment (such as for one year), employers are able to discharge them without cause, at any time. This employee employment arrangement is governed by and is called the employment-at-will doctrine. There is a growing concern of evidence for the rights of employees in their jobs because of the limitations on discrimination and the employment-at-will doctrine abuse practices by employers. The trend suggests that employers using the doctrine, as a matter a fact to benefit their companies, could lead to some type of broad, or legal guaranteed job security mandate. (Reed-Shedd-Morehead, 2005).

From the application of this doctrine, the senior manager acted in the best interests of the organization to retain Carl Haimes and Nora Hanson. These two employees are above average in their overall track record of performance. These two employees can be re-trained for different positions, as needed, by the company. Job diversity or redefined job scope is not an issue to Carl and Nora. Both Carl and Nora add value to the company and are worth the investment.

The decision of the senior management to lay off the other three employees is an objective one and it is in the best interests of the organization. In the case of Brian, his performance and productivity became questionable since he started developing carpal syndrome, which may lead to medical disability. Carl may be protected under the ADA - the Americans with Disability Act. Therefore, the senior manager of the company must present to Carl that the elimination of his job is due to the project not producing the results that were expected and that it is necessary to allocate the company's resources to a different venture. Sara Boyd, on the other hand, might sue for age discrimination but, with the right severance package offered to her, she will be happy. Jenny Mills, as we know, is pregnant and is, therefore, protected by the laws against pregnancy discrimination. The company will have to tell Jenny that her skills are non-critical and that it was a business decision that her position was eliminated.

Employment discrimination laws seek to prevent discrimination



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