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Business Forms 310.1.5

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Badgers24
Words 1701
Pages 7
Running head: Labor and Employment Law

Labor and Employment Law

As a Human Resource Director for Company X, I come across situations every day that challenge my decision making. These situations need to be handled in a delicate matter to make sure that the company is following the guidelines that are setup and established by the federal government to make sure that companies and employees are treated fairly. I would like to discuss three situations that recently have challenged my leadership as a Human Resource Director and show the diversity of the laws and why they were created and how they work.
Situation A – FMLA
The first situation I am about to describe is an unfortunate set of circumstances, but the law is very clear and the company position is easily seen. Therefore, it was not hard for me to make this decision. The employee was presented with a difficult family situation his twin children were born premature. He made the decision to take leave from work to attend to his spouse and the needs of his family. This is ok and totally understood by the company. Here is where the unfortunate part comes, the department manager at the time agreed to the let the employee take a leave of absence, but the proper paperwork was not filed for Family Medical Leave Act. Now to complicate matters worse, the department manager that was in charge of this employee left during the employee’s leave. Eleven weeks have gone by and the employee wants to come back to work and receive the pay he missed while attending to his family. As a human resource director there are many situations that fall into grey areas, and you have to look at all options and think through the best results for both parties involved. The definition of the Family Medical leave Act according to the Federal Government is “The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.” It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave. FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.” ("Family & medical leave," 2012). The company had many discussions about this situation. Since we had changed department managers, we agreed to let the employee come back to work at the previous rate of pay and at the previous position. This decision was made as the employee left in good standing and the company had no issues with his return. The back pay, if you would, has been denied for reasons that are clear cut. As tough as the employee’s situation is, the FMLA act was structured to help out employees take time away from their work during difficult times, but it clearly states that it is unpaid.” FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women. FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons: for the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee; for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care; to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition”. ("Family & medical leave," 2012) So, even if all the proper paper work was filed, which in this case it does not appear that it was and there was an agreement of some sort between the employee and the old manager, the company is not required to pay out the time away from work, even though the reason on why the employee was on leave was a qualifying criteria of the FMLA in taking care of his spouse and birth of a child. In closing, this situation was an easy decision to protect the company from a financial aspect. The company was still able to retain a good employee and he was able to return to his job and stay employed.
Situation B ---- Age Discrimination
The second situation that I would like to discuss was one that was as easy to solve. It was still difficult, as it did not paint the company in a good light. In the interest of fairness to the employees it had to be corrected. The department manager clearly did not award the correct employee the promotion strictly due to age, which is in clear violation of the employee age discrimination act of the federal government. The age discrimination act clearly states the following, “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects certain applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.” ("Equal employment opportunity," 2012). The department manager had an employee that was 68 years old and was rated as an above average worker. When he asked why he was denied the promotion, he was told it was due to his age. This is clearly against the law, and had to be corrected. Regardless if the employee is going to retire two days after the promotion or has health issues after getting promoted, an employee can’t be held back or not promoted simply due to age. This situation I had to make right immediately. We needed to avoid a lawsuit by the employee and protect the company’s reputation as not to be shown as a company that is discriminatory.
Situation C ---- Americans with Disabilities
The third and final situation was probably the most difficult of the three situations I have had to face. It involved a candidate that had a disability and was qualified for the job. In order to get to some of the areas of the corporation two of the elevators were going to have to be modified. The company has four elevators in the building and two of the elevators were ok, but the two that the applicant would be using to perform the functions of their duties would have to be modified. In reviewing this situation, this is what has been discovered so far. The Americans with Disabilities act of 1990 states,” Reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.” Reasonable accommodations also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities. Examples of reasonable accommodation include making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by an individual with a disability; restructuring a job; modifying work schedules; acquiring or modifying equipment; providing qualified readers or interpreters; or appropriately modifying examinations, training, or other programs. Reasonable accommodation also may include reassigning a current employee to a vacant position for which the individual is qualified, if the person is unable to do the original job because of a disability even with an accommodation. However, there is no obligation to find a position for an applicant who is not qualified for the position sought. Employers are not required to lower quality or quantity standards as an accommodation; nor are they obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.” ("Americans with disabilities," 2002). This is where the grey area comes in. If the company turned down the applicant with the disability claiming undue hardship but did not go into detail as to why; then those situations have to be documented. If the sole reason was that the two elevators would have to be modified may not be a justifiable reason to not hire the candidate. The cost of the modifications would be very expensive and our company considered claiming “undue hardship” due to the cost, which by federal government standards is a legal reason. "Undue hardship" is defined as an "action requiring significant difficulty or expense". ("Americans with disabilities," 2002). There were other ways around this issue, such as, can the candidate still do the functions by using the other two elevators? Is the candidate possibly willing to pay for or absorb some of the cost of the modifications? These items were discussed and though this situation was a difficult and many avenues were researched, we feel a conclusion has been made that is fair and legal to all parties. The decision was made to modify the elevators due to the fact that after further research the undue hardship was truly not a valid claim and here is why. “Undue hardship implies that there may necessarily be some hardship in accommodating someone’s disability, but unless that hardship imposes an undue or unreasonable burden, it yields to the need to accommodate.... Concrete evidence is required to establish undue hardship.” (Duhaime). In the end we hired a great employee and the accommodations paid for themselves.
So in closing being a human resources director brings different challenges every day and is a great way to interact with many types of people and situations. I hope this has taught you some of the situations you need to be aware of as you enter the business world.

References:
Family & medical leave. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm Equal employment opportunity. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/discrimination/agedisc.htm Americans with disabilities act. (2002, May). Retrieved from http://www.ada.gov/q&aeng02.htm
Duhaime. (n.d.). Undue hardship definition. Retrieved from http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/U/UndueHardship.aspx

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