Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chapter 5 Reflection

In class we discussed HR's responsibility to forecast the demand and supply of the labor market and how it is similier to the demand/supply for any other product or service. When the labor market is in surplus, employers can pay low wages because people are unemployed and are willing to get paid less for a job. On the otherhand, if the labor market it low, employers have to pay higher wages in order to get qualified workers to consider working for them.

We also talked about the options a company has to reduce a surplus.
-Pay reduction
-Work share
-Hiring Freeze
-Natural attrition
-Early retirement

While some of these are faster then others, the faster they are usually results in a larger amount of suffering from the persons involved.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chapter 5 Discussion

Concept and brief description:

Ethical downsizing obligations. When a company decides that it needs to downsize, and layoff employees, what kinds of obligations do they have to the employees that lose their jobs?

Emotional hook (provocative question/ claim/real-life problem):

Recently Wal-mart announced that it will be laying off 10,000 workers from I believe their manufacturing and warehouse labor force. Now, typically the type of people Wa-mart employs are usually people who are already struggling because of lower education, health problems and disabilities. What is Wal-mart going to do to help ensure that 10,000 people in this category get new jobs elsewhere?

Facilitative Questions:

Are there better ways then others to downsize, other then just a straight cut? Why do sometimes downsizing attempt to reduce costs fail? Is early retirement a good option for companies looking to downsize? How about temporary employees?

Chapter 4 Reflection

Our group discussed issues related to chapter 4, including efficiency and job satisfaction. Where exactly does a business need to draw the line when it comes to managers getting bonuses for increasing performance, when it can lead to the employees leaving the job because of poor satisfaction and becoming overwhelmed?

Also we talked about job descriptions and how important they are for HR. Poor job descriptions can lead to confusion, and conflict when employees are not sure what they are expected to do, or what authority they have to made decisions. It reminded me of a position I had at a health food store in which I knew the basic job I needed to get done, but was not informed about how much authority I had to make decisions that would come up on the spot. Also, it was only assumed that I was in a "manager" position even by the Owner of the store, but never was included in manager bonuses or invited to manager meetings. In a nutshell, I was confused on where I stood within the organization because there was no job description for my position.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Article Reflections

Our group discussed the articles we each had looked up for this assignment and I wrote down some of the things that stood out to me. The first was in regards to drug testing and how some companies have gotted in big trouble for handling it in the wrong way or making a drug user known to the wrong people, which violates privacy. Also, companies should have a policy in place, and people should know the procedures very clearly when handling this topic.

Another that I had never thought about was the process an employeer can go through to get information about a specific job applicant from their previous employeer. We discussed that nothing but general questions can be asked without being in risk for a lawsuit. The information you seek can only be in the form of basic questions like, "would you hire this person again?", or "would there be anything about this person that would prohibit them from doing a job here?"

Aside from the articles, I found the class discussion on Amendments and Laws regarding HR to be very enlightening and helped me realize just how delicate and complex HR really is, and you really got to be careful with what you say and do or it could end up in court.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Discussion - HR Related Article

Concept and brief description:

ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) was sign in 1967 by President Johnson in order to protect older workers from being discriminated against because of their age. Since then the law has been through many revisions but is still a major player in companies who care about staying in business. There is however an increasing amount of claims being filed and businesses are getting smarter ideas to protect themselves from getting in trouble.

Emotional hook (provocative question/ claim/real-life problem):

In 1996 there were over 20,000 complaints for age discrimination, while only about 2,000 of them were approved in favor of the complainant. This makes me wonder how well the current regulations are protecting the people from discrimination. There will always be those that try to take advantage of the system, but 10% is very low.
Key points to elicit in discussion

Some companies have come up with ways to work around the laws by switching the focus of the complaint from age discrimination to work performance as well as arguing that the position has a certain requirement when it comes to age, for example a fashion clothing store may argue that to get business from youthful aged people it should have youthful fashionable workers. Another example was flight attendants who for years have the stereotype for being young attractive women, but there is no reason a 40 or 50 year old couldn’t perform the same position.

Facilitative questions

Where is the line drawn when it comes to stereotypes? Is it ok for Mexican restaurants to only hire Mexicans? Woman’s clothing stores to only hire woman? Teenage clothing stores to hire teenagers? Would it really hurt the business to allow older workers to fill positions that are thought of as younger worker jobs? What about young people filling jobs that are traditionally thought of as older workers jobs?

Article used:

Worsnop, R. L. (1997, August 1). Age discrimination. CQ Researcher, 7, 673-696. Retrieved January 19, 2010, from CQ Researcher Online,

Chapter 3 Reflection

We discussed in class the various issues facing HR with regards to discriminating against people that are different race, color, nationality, culture, or disability.

The U.S. has set up laws and regulations to protect people from being discriminated against and require companies to provide equal opportunitues to them. Some of the consequences for discrimination are pretty severe, and are the reasons most companies dont mess around with even an appearance of discriminating.

One issue however that my group mentioned was the fact that some companies are so worried about getting in trouble, that they hire/promote employees based on these laws, rather then on qualifications and experience. One guy said that between a white male with years of job related experience, and a black man just graduating from college with no experience, who would get the job? While it would obviously benefit the company to hire the white man because of experience, the company may deny him the position due to fear of government action for discrimination.

I conclude that laws of discrimination do protect certain people from being discriminated against, but also has the problem of discriminating against people with high qualifications, but wrong color, nationality, or gender.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chapter 3 Discussion

Concept and brief description:

Equal Employment Opportunity – HR is responsible to ensure that all applicants and employees are not discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin.

Emotional hook (provocative question/ claim/real-life problem):

Deafness runs in my family, my grandfather is deaf, my sister in one ear, and my own hearing has gone down considerably over the course of my life and could continue to drop. In fact I actually wear a hearing aid in order to be able to pick up everything I need to. With my future in front of me, it makes me wonder what jobs I will be able to hold successfully even if my hearing continues to deteriorate.

Key points to elicit in discussion

Chapter three discusses several safeguards that have been set up in order to provide equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Among these are constitutional amendments and legislations that give minorities as well as disabled citizens protection against discrimination. Businesses are required to make whatever adjustments are needed, whether in equipment or procedure, to allow the disabled to carry out the duties of the job.

Facilitative questions

Is it right for companies to be required to purchase equipment or alter their procedures in order to adapt to a single employees disability? Are there ever times that a company can turn away the disabled due to certain jobs that require them to be fully functional?

Chapter 2 Reflection

We didn't have much time to go over chapter two's content, but we did meet in groups of 5-6 people and discuss some of the topics people had written down. Some of the HR issues that I heard in the group I was in was being able to motivate employees to take responsiblity for their own appearance, language, and conduct, in order to create positive experiences for customers and other employees. One example was that an employee was hired on, and came to work in unappropriate attire, and very crude jokes. This employees would not even hesitate to telling bad jokes or using vulgar language in front of supervisors.

This reminded me of an experience I had at a job once, in which an employee defended his vulgar language by saying it was how he expresses himself, and that no one has the right to tell him how to express himself... Obviously he has a lot to learn about being professional, because regardless of how you express yourself when your on your OWN clock, you are at work, getting paid to satisfy customers of all different types, and vulgar language is offending to a large portion of them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chapter 2 - Discussion

With the changes in the labor market and with more then half of them over the age of 40 and nearing retirement, and with less younger working entering the labor force, it makes me wonder what will happen in the near future as far as job availability goes. Would this cause a demand for more workers? And would that demand be met with an increase of foreign employees and offshoring practices?

New blog started for James Ashworth!

This blog's purpose is to increase the learning and understanding of class material and discussions and to provide a history of infomation that can be accessed conviently as needed. It will compose of my own personal topics for discussion as well as my reflections and impressions to class lectures.