October 25, 2012

MU0013 [Human Resource Audit] Set2 Q4

Q.4 Explain the process of workplace behaviors that support legal compliance.

Ans:

Safe, dignified, and respectful work environment is not only mandated by the law, but also increases motivation and productivity of the employees. An example of review of business practices used to deal with allegations of harassment safe working environments should be considered especially for the females in the offices so as to make them feel confident and concentrate on work is shown as under: 

Tailored Reviews can be added to the General Audit

By Joan Curtice: Read the following example at the end to observe how in practical world organisations pursue safe working environment for their employees.

1. Ethical trading initiative: promoting conflict resolution in union negotiations Cambodia (Source: http://www.ethicaltrade.org)
In November 2005 the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) was alerted to allegations of serious interference in union rights in a Cambodian factory. In response, the organisation brought member companies sourcing from the Fortune Garments factory to meet with workers, intermediary suppliers, factory management and International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF) representatives, in order to seek a solution to the conflict. After negotiations, in May 2006 an agreement was reached by all parties resulting in: payment of compensation to unfairly dismissed workers; entry of the Coalition of Cambodian Democratic Apparel Workers Union into the factory; and acceptance of trade union demands over pay and conditions.

2. Nike, Adidas, Umbro and more: working group with trade unions to promote trade unionism Global (Source: http://www.ituc-csi.org)
The International Trade Union Confederation reported in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics that sporting apparel companies including Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Umbro and Speedo had formed a joint working group with trade unions and NGOs to explore, amongst other issues, how to promote trade unionism and collective bargaining across the sector.

3. Agreement with UNI property services to ensure rights of workers Global (Source: http://www.g4s.com/)
In 2008, G4S, one of the worlds largest international security firms, signed a global agreement with UNI Property Services, a global union, to ensure that all of G4Ss 570,000 employees (spread across more than 110 countries) have the right to organise in a free and fair atmosphere. This is in addition to complying with international standards and national law in its relations with workers.

4. Training internal monitors on freedom of association Global (Source: http://www.gapinc.com)
In 2006 Gap Inc. partnered with the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF), the global union federation for the apparel and textiles sector, to train its internal monitoring team on freedom of association and collective bargaining issues. In the same year, the ITGLWF provided Gap Inc. with a detailed briefing. Gap Inc. supplemented this training by holding workshops on the Indian subcontinent and in south east Asia with the ITGLWF and local trade union representatives.

These workshops aimed to strengthen engagement between Gap Inc.s Vendor Compliance Officers (responsible for inspecting factories and documenting violations) and key worker rights representatives at regional and local levels.

5. General Electric: expanding supplier due diligence to include freedom of association Global (Source: http://www.ge.com)
In 2008, General Electric (GE) expanded its supplier due diligence programme to cover freedom of association, discrimination and harassment/retaliation. To do this it engaged in benchmarking activities with other companies to determine how they monitored and audited their suppliers in relation to the ILO principles. In addition, it reviewed its on-site assessment tools and guidance materials and developed new training materials. As a result, over 150 suppliers were asked to change their policies with respect to freedom of association. In addition, around 400 suppliers were asked to adopt an employee dispute resolution process.

6. Mod-Style: offering worker empowerment and training to suppliers China (Source: http://www.bsl.org.au)
Mod-Style, a business sourcing optical frames from Asia, has the majority of its factories in China, where the only government-affiliated All-China Federation of Trade Unions is recognised and trade union rights are severely restricted. In 2000, Mod-Style joined with the Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL), an Australian based charity, to implement business standards based on the conventions of the ILO and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. In the absence of independent trade unions, BSL and Mod-Style have offered worker empowerment training and capacity building in supplier factories to ensure that workers rights can still be adequately voiced and heard. Nonetheless, to date no factories have agreed to this training, with BSL and Mod-Style instead focusing on developing long-term, direct and stable relationships with factory owners and managers.

Workplace behaviors that support legal compliance 

A safe, dignified, and respectful work environment is not only mandated by the law, but also increases motivation and productivity of the employees. An example of review of business practices used to deal with allegations of harassment safe working environments should be considered especially for the females in the offices so as to make them feel confident and concentrate on work.

Many smaller companies do not like writing certain aspects of ways of conducting business. For such companies, it is mere formality and they do not appreciate “people-oriented culture.” Though it should be avoided because it is patently illegal because laws require that companies should mention very clearly the policies about guaranteeing specific protections to employees.

Safeguarding employee information 

Employees‟ personal information should be safeguarded. Separate files should be maintained for personal information as contrasted with employment related information. Main objective behind it to ensure that while deciding the employee’s career with the company his personal information should not be considered. For example while deciding whether to promote employee or not, instead of his personal information like his religion, his work experience and capabilities should be considered. 

The employment decision needs to be made on work/performance-related information, not the personal information. Relevant materials in the work file include information on the employee’s education, related work experience, and performance evaluations in other positions within the company. An audit can clarify what information must be segregated and the laws that govern employees‟ access to and copying of their files. Other employee information that must be safeguarded includes any materials that contain medical information. 

Employee performance management 

An audit can review company’s job descriptions for compliance (i.e., to determine whether the descriptions list the essential functions of the job). Various legal issues can arise due to performance related problems of employees. Audit will help in following improvements and reviews: 
A 90-day written standard performance evaluation form,
An annual written standard performance evaluation form, 
A performance management/performance improvement plan, 
A description of the company’s policy for both voluntary resignation and company-initiated termination, 
Wage and salary administration program, 
Bonus/stock option criteria. 

Safe work environment 

Audit practices may also help the companies to know about factors that contribute to a safe work environment. A company may choose to develop an audit sheet tailored to a particular issue, such as the company’s zero-tolerance policy for harassment. For example, a company may wish to review and evaluate its practices of dealing with inappropriate harassing behavior in its workplace.

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