RobPeterson was hired by HPL as COO and it was almost two years when hewas faced by this situation.HPL was a consulting and accounting firm.The firm was well respected and was in its developing stage. On Aprilsixteenth, it was the end of just another busy season. All taxreturns that belonged to clients were filed the previous day andcompletion of all certified audits ending during spring was alreadycompleted (Burke, 2000). Due to the heavy workload of the previousmonth, many employees wanted to go for a vacation to prepare for thenext high season.
Petersonas the chief operating officer had many responsibilities likefinancial reporting, strategic planning, marketing, as well as humanresource management. Human resource management almost took all histime. He hired staffs, developed programs meant for training, had theresponsibility of setting compensation rates, wrote the employeeshandbook, took the mandate of ensuring that all state and federallaws were complied by the firm, and finally, coordinated the programsmeant for performance appraisal(Glenn, 2002). He felt that he wasexceptionally qualified in these fields.
Onthis day, the managing partner, Sandberg wanted Peterson to fireSmith. According to the person in charge of audit department, Smithability to do the job was not pleasing for the past year. It was thetime that the firm was beginning to experience growth and there wasneed for employees’ level of skill to be upgraded. At this period,there were increased responsibilities and Shirley seemed not to havethe ability to handle them. Any upgrade in staffs in HPL would hireindividuals with college training for the audit positions. Moreover,in the previous year, she was diagnosed with cancer. According toParker (2009), this was a big blow to the firm. If smith was to loseher job, the chances of her getting a health coverage that wasaffordable was very slim.HPL knew that the benefit package includedthe insurance coverage which she needed most. The firm had made adecision to keep her as time goes by. During this period, her healthhad improved because the cancer was in remission. Still, she was notimproving on her job performance consequently impacting the companyin a negative way. This was a hard decision Peterson had to make(Stoney, 2006).
Inaddition, Peterson had an appointment on that day with Lessiker, afinalist for the position of auditing. When the interview was aboutto end, she caught him by surprise by telling him tat she hadleukemia and she was to undergo a transplant of the bone marrow in 3weeks. She also needed 4 or 5 months to rest. Peterson was in adilemma whether to hire Lessiker who was not available at that timeto do the job, and was not to be discriminated against due to hercondition, or to fire Shirley whose health was improving but herperformance was not good.
Smith(2013), suggest that when terminating an employee, there are a numberof implications that might create legal liability. Shirley wascurrently suffering from cancer and her condition was thereforecovered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to thisact, employees with disabilities could not be subjected todiscrimination .Furthermore, gender discrimination was covered intitle seven of the civil rights and since she was a woman,terminating her would bring gender issues. Moreover, she was fiftyeight and therefore covered under a law that was against agediscrimination. Termination not well handled can subject a firm tolegal action.
Accordingto performance evaluations done previously, Smith had improved.Although the performance was below average, it was not sufficient toterminate her unless her performance did not show any improvementover a specific period of time (Parker, 2009).
HiringLessiker also could have a great impact on the firm. She could notwork for the first six months because she was suffering fromleukemia. This would affect the firm in a detrimental manner in thenext busy season. The decision not to hire her would create a legalliability because the American with Disabilities Act covers peoplewith the condition like hers. So, Peterson’s decision to hire herwould risk legal action. In addition, HPL was a small company thathad difficulties in covering their employees’ health in anaffordable rate. Many health conditions in the firm might have causedthe firm’s rate to increase causing all employees’ healthcoverage dropped.HPL did not have a clause that would help them toexclude such conditions as leukemia that pre-existed at that time(Stoney, 2006). The fact that Peterson knew about her conditionpresented a case of possessing tainted information. Another problemis that Lessiker volunteered to tell about her condition and adecision not to hire her would be assumed to be because of hercondition. The insurance coverage of her condition would also beassumed to be a federal law violation. It is important to bothconsider the interests of the company and ensure that the ethicalstandards governing the code of conduct are maintained.
InShirley case, If Peterson is to fire her, he should make sure thathis decision was based on the interest and needs of the firm, ratherthan on the motive of getting rid of her because she had cancer. Thebest way was to base his layoff decision on low performance andfailure to catch up fast (Glenn, 2002). The company needed someonewith college training which she did not have. This had an impact onthe productivity of the firm.
Anotherpotential plan of action would to keep her and ensure that she isgiven a termination warning if she doesn’t improve her performance.To improve her performance, the management should offer step by stepcoaching and this process might produce good results. According toperformance evaluations conducted, Shirley shows a potential toimprove although in slow rate. According to Parker (2009), if thenormal training programs are not helpful enough, a performancedevelopment plan would be better. Also, hiring another person andshare the job with Shirley would probably improve her performance
InLessiker’s case, hiring her and putting the business at risk wouldnot be advisable. The fact that she was not available when she wasneeded was enough evidence of not hiring her. Peterson decisions mustbe in line with the code of ethics and legal laws. He could also haveconsidered the skills of the other finalists.
Thenext option was to hire her and wait until her rest period was over.In those six months, the firm has the mandate to hire another personon a temporal basis.
Thedecision not to terminate Shirley’s employment and hiring Lessikerwould affect the productivity of the firm in the next busy season.Improved productivity increases job security and the bottom line of acompany. A new employee who has health issue will have an impact onthe structure of the health insurance plan offered by the company(Burke, 2009). This will result to employees being deducted a higheramount, increased premiums, and also less coverage. As a consequenceof this action, the firm will have to cancel any salary increments,other benefits will be foregone, and hiring will be avoided for aperiod of time.
Firingan Employee can sometime have a positive impact on the employees’behavior and the entire operations of the firm (Stoney, 2006). Otheremployees would work harder not to be fired but at the same time canhave difficulties coping with a new employee. Retaining anunderperforming employee can jeopardize the employees’ success,department’s success and the company’s success.
Humanresource management can create various ethical issues. The dismissal,hiring, and management of employees relate very well with someethical issues (Smith, 2013). Subjecting all employees to similarworking conditions and promotions whenever they portray high qualityof work are some of ethical issues that companies and organizationsneed to put into consideration. Although Peterson felt that he had agood connection with both Shirley and Lessiker, this should nothinder him from making ethical decisions that benefited both of themand the entire HPL community.
Inconclusion, the supervisors in an organization should take intoconsideration the welfare of the entire firm when making a decisionwhether to fire or hire an employee. Taking only one aspect of aperson or of an organization can affect the managerial, financial,legal laws and the ethics governing the company.
Burke,A. E. (2000).When Less Is More: Distinguishing Between Entrepreneurial Choice AndPerformance.Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Glenn,C. (2002). EmploymentDecisions: The Ambiguous Embrace. NewYork: Princeton University press.
Parker,S. (2009). TheEconomics of Entrepreneurship.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smith,J. (2013). ManagingDiscrimination in the American Workplace.New York: Princeton University Press.
Stoney,G. & Gilbert, J. (2006). Achieving Ethics and Fairness in Hiring:Going beyond the Law. Journalof Business Ethics,68 (4), 449-464.