Business Management — Human Resource Issues

Response to Sean

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The way that Agilent handled the downsizing situation sounds ideal. The most important thing they did was establish a of criteria to decide which employees had to be laid off. By using only objective criteria — in this case, location — the company protected itself against any possible discrimination or wrongful termination claims against the company. The other things that Agilent apparently did right in this case was to treat the laid off employees a fairly as possible because the way that employees feel about how they were treated plays a tremendous role in their response to the situation: those who feel that the organization did right by them are much less likely to resort to legal action against the company. Finally, Agilent also in securing releases of liability in return for extra consideration that exceeded the compensation or severance to which the laid off employees were entitled.

Response to Kristen and Regina

I agree with the importance of documenting information but I would not place as much emphasis on whether or not the instances of lateness were factually accurate. If they were recorded through ordinary business reporting processes, they are actually presumed to be reliable enough to qualify them as evidence in a court of law under the concept of “.” I would focus more on making sure that the lateness issue is being enforced fairly and uniformly by the manager to avoid any possibility of claims against the organization for discrimination or wrongful termination if lateness becomes one of the bases for eventual termination. In that respect, what is more important than the amount of lateness or the number of times it occurred would be whether or not the all of his subordinates to the same standard and enforces those standards uniformly and fairly.

Similarly, while giving the employee involved in the altercation an opportunity to explain his side of things is a necessary formality, I would not expect this step to reveal any information that is useful or helpful to understand the situation. I would actually place much greater trust in the information disclosed by coworkers, especially those who were not directly involved in any specific incidents but who work closely enough with the individuals involved to shed a more objective light on what happened and what factors or behaviors they have observed that contributed to the problem. In that investigation, I would stress that their input would remain confidential to ensure their cooperation without fear of reprisal from the individual at issue.

Response to Aneka

With respect to the lateness issue, I would be much more interested in the information from the interview with the manager about how clearly he has explained scheduling and lateness policies than in the excuses of an employee who has been regularly coming in late. As far as the disciplinary issues are concerned, I like the anger control training idea and I would make it a condition of continued employment. In that regard, the fact that the employee involved is an at-will employee is very helpful since, technically, he could be terminated without cause. However, because of the potential unemployment claim financial liability, I would certainly document the entire series of events to establish that there was cause for termination in the event that to rectify the situation.