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Legal Compliance, Discipline and Grievance

February 27, 2020

Legal Compliance, Discipline and Grievance


In this section were going to talk about some of the more uncomfortable sides of being a manager. As manager or a leader, you’ll be facing at some point issues regarding grivience, discipiline and compliance with law. With more complicated issues its always good to consult with a professional. However, its highly recomende to know the basics of legal recguiarment. In this article well go through rights of manager and employees. Becoming aware of discipline and the avoiding the need for it. And, of course we will always have employees that are challenging. Hence, management of difficult employees.




Employee rights


Working for a corporation we need to respect the values and the culture of that company. Howevee, as worker you have certain rights. Meaning that those rights are provided to you by law and any interference from employer is considered illegall. To make it as simple as possible these rights can be categorirez in to three main section:


First is saturatory rights. These are rights that are protected by a specific law for aexample discrimination based on race, sex, religion or nationality.

Then we have contract rights. These rights are based on the contract law. Basically, two parties agree on certain things and sign a contract upon it. Beaching those terms is of course subject to legal remedy. These two mentioned rights are the very minimum baseline for work environment.

The third one is vaguer. For example, every worker has the right to be treaded equally and fairly, but the law may not directly stretch out to employers to do so.


However, research has shown that companies that uphold common equality and demonstrate respect towards employees result into more satisfied workers, that in return are willing to go the extra mile for that employer. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 458 – 460.)




Management rights


Are as it is called. They are the rights given to managers to lead their business. These laws provide the ability to hire, promote, assign or discipline employees. Taking into consideration these laws vary depending on the country your working in. For example, in Finland terminating an indefinitely valid employment contract without a proper reason is considered illegal. In the U.S. we have something called employment at will. Basically, giving the employer the power to end a contract at any time for any reason. The idea is that since the employee has the right to end their contract at any time. It would only be fair to give the same right to the managers as well. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 461 – 462.)




Balancing the managers and employee´s rights


Ok, so everyone has rights, but what about tricky situations where the manager and the worker are practically both in their right? Lett´s go through some of the example´s:

Drug testing. Managers want to protect their work environment and workers regard it as an unnecessary invasion of their privacy. Furthermore, random drug tests have been shown to have little impact in the outcome of related accidents. Why bother with this headache? In Silicon Valley they´ve come up with an alternative tat is cheaper and more reliable and much more invasive. Performance test: are computer-based test that test hand- eye coordination. Basically, you play a short game and go to work. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 463 – 465.)


Other situations are for example employee´s disclosure of an illegal or immoral practice to a person that maybe able to take corrective actions. Here were balancing between employee right and the right of the employer to prevent disclosing sensitive information to outsiders. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 468 – 469.)


How about personal life? office romance and the right for the employer to intervene between two workers. People spend most of their time in work, where they meet other people with same interest. Hence, we have office romance´s. The challenge here is that the managers need to protect the company from its liability from sexual harassment while at the same time protecting people privacy. The problem is especially tricky if the romance is between a worker and their supervisor. Taking into consideration the possibility of the romance going sour. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 470 – 471.)




The big D: Discipline


Discipline is a tool for communicating to the worker that something needs to change. It sounds extreme but think of a situation where a certain worker comes late everyday or they neglect safety standards. Something has to be said for the environment to remain a good place to work in. Well, that something must be clarified first. The objective or the outcome needs to be clear to both the worker and the managers. Communicating these points clearly and having a follow-up plan to ensure the change has taken place. At the end of the session its always good to mention something positive. The idea is not judge or hurt that person’s feelings. Rather it’s to enhance the work result. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 472 – 473.)


Progressive discipline is a common way to communicate the need for change. Progressive, meaning that the steps of discipline increase if the request of the employer is not met. For example, a manager can start with an oral warning, then written warning, afterwards suspension and lastly discharge. Some companies have replaced progressive discipline with positive discipline. The idea is same as in progressive, meaning the urgency for change increases step by step. However, in positive discipline the employees monitor their own behavior and instead of threats and punishment counseling sessions are provided. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 474 – 475; Quain 2018.)


Ensuring that the discipline taken is fair and just managers should understand the standards of discipline to determine whether the employee was treated fairly and whether the employee has the right to appeal. Some notes to consider communicate that the employee is aware of the company’s policies. Gather documentation of the facts. Be consistent with the discipline. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 476 – 477; Aaron 2017.)




Prevent the need for discipline


Disciplining a worker requires time and resources. Planning strategically ahead the need for discipline can be avoided. It starts with recruitment and selection. As, mentioned in our previous article spending more time and resources in selecting employees that match with the needs of the organization decreases the likelihood of bad performance in the future. Training and developing both employees to perform better and managers to coach and mentor effectively. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 483.)


Appraisal system can reduce a lot of unnecessary problems. The workers should be able to understand what is required of them and recognize the areas of improvement. Employees that feel they are being treated unfairly are more like to lose respect to company and have negative issues down the road. Being fair and just by having policies that everyone agrees on is the very minimum a n employer should provide. (Gomez-Meija, Balkin & Cardy 2016, 484.)









Aaron 22 Dec 2017. 9 Tips for an Effective Employee Discipline Strategy. EffortlessHr. URL: Accessed: 25.02.2020


Gomez – Meija L., Balkin D. & Cardy R. 2016. Managing human resources. Eight edition. Pearson.


McCarthy S. 28 Aug. 2015. Receipt rage: Why food is being served with a side of hate. Fox News. URl: Accessed: 26.02.2020


Mele C. & Baker A. 18 Nov. 2016. New York Police Inspector Is Charged With Sexually Abusing Female Officer. The New York Times. URL: Accessed: 26.02.2020


Quain S. 19 Oct 2018. Types of Discipline Used in the Workplace. Smallbusiness. URL: Accessed: 25.02.2020.




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