Ethics is a very crucial part in businesses especially when it comes to the Human Resource department to recruit ethically. Ethics seeks to address questions about morality, different concepts of what is good and bad, right and wrong, justice, and virtue. (Hirsch, 2010, p.33) Many people associate ethics with their feelings, religion, laws and cultural society but on the contrary ethics is not a matter of one’s feelings nor is it based on religion or society but ethics is a set of standards of right and wrong that ‘prescribe’ what humans ought to do in reference to society, fairness and other specific virtues. It emphasizes the reasonable obligations of refraining from certain actions such as rape, theft, murder, fraud etc. Ethical standards include compassion, honesty, and decency, rights to privacy, freedom and life. (meyer, 2010, p.2). These ethical standards are adequate and acknowledged by the majority of people since they are supported by well founded reasons. Ethics must be enforced into a company so it can function in harmony and as a whole.
Many a times organizational ethics is not practiced in the workplace as we find employers abusing their power over their employees. Human resource ethical issues are a major concern to society as no one would want to work for a company that does not recruit ethically. There are a set of ethical standards that an employer must follow while recruiting. We have focused on a few. First and foremost fairness in recruiting can not only benefit the employee but also the company. One must recruit fairly making sure that no one is adversely impacted by the company’s actions. Recruiters must evaluate applicants based on their expertise and knowledge, skills, educational level and work history for the evaluation to be completely fair. For instance recruiting an applicant that is your relative but with no high educational level over an MBA graduate is one of the many unfair practices that go on today. However Valuing diversity is a positive action as it tries to incorporate fairness into the organization. (Hirsch, 2010, p.33) Discrimination is another major concern while recruiting. An employer must not treat people differently just because of their skin color, gender, height etc. Recruiters must keep their promises if they have promised a bonus or promotion to an employee.
Recruiters who use methods that are deceitful or dishonest do no one a favor. They harm the company’s reputation as well as their own. Many recruiters are unsure whether or not a particular practice is wrong might do well to place themselves in the shoes of the candidate or the manager and see how they would react. In today’s society many issues are handled unethically and not many people voice out their opinions regarding unethical issues and practices. It is important to examine what is occurring around you. Detecting and effectively handling unethical behavior is central to maintaining upstanding business practices ( Hudson,2010 ) a few articles regarding unethical practices have been discussed for further clarification. In November 12 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act was founded in the U.K under the Queen’s laws to prevent further unlawful kinds of sex discrimination, discrimination on the basis of marriage, and to promote the equality of both sexes in all fields of opportunities (Sefton.gov.uk, 2010). According to States News Service, the United Nations have urged and emphasized the importance of eliminating all forms of discrimination against women during war through the implementation of the Security Council Resolution 1325 which was created back in 2000 (States News Service, 2010).
War exacerbates all the inequalities that are present between women and men in all societies and up to different degrees, which leaves women in particular vulnerable to all sorts of assault, discrimination, and violence. The adoption of the resolution emphasized the importance of women and gender equality in making international peace. It also stressed the importance of women’s participation and involvement in achieving global peace and security. Recognized as a historic and unprecedented document, has built on a number of global policy documents, statements, resolutions, reports and treaties, including the Women’s Convention which provides an overall framework for its full implementation (States News Service, 2010). The convention is a powerful women’s human rights tool in which its sole aim and purpose was to eliminate all forms of abuse and discrimination against the feminine gender.
It gives out hope for all women across the world that their human rights will be protected and that they will soon have the equal opportunity to contribute and participate in the maintenance of sustainable peace. In this world of continuous violence, when often civilian victims exceed the number of combat casualties, the committee supports the Security Council’s call for all parties to join forces and protect women and prosecute all those responsible for committing crimes of violence such as rape and sexual abuse (Peacewomen.org, 2006). From another perspective, gender discrimination is believed to cause disruption and delay of science advancements (Natural News, 2006). Mike Adams, a science writer and author said: “this frustrating gender discrimination is actually holding back breakthroughs in science that may have their origins in more female thinking, such as studying the relationships among the body’s organs rather than dissecting them to see what they’re made of” (Ben Kage, 2006).
On the other hand, another form of abuse that is common in the work environment is Harassment which ranges from simple unpleasant comments to physical violence. It can be considered sexual if the unwanted behavior includes certain sexual favors or target sexuality and gender. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the record for sexual harassments complaints filed by men have increased by around 40% from 1,500 in 1994 to 2031 in 2009, where the total complaints went up to 12,696 (EEOC.gov, 2009). Recently, sexual harassment began to include harassment of men by women, same sex harassment, and harassments of workers by customers or clients, which are commonly known these days as third-party harassment. In a survey conducted by Klien Associates, they found out that 380 attorneys out of 2000 have received unfavorable sexual attention (Velasquez, 2010).
Furthermore, in a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine in Ontario discovered that 77% of female family physicians have earlier reported incidents of sexual harassments by their patients (Velasquez, 2010). Usually, when approached by a third-party sexual harassment issue, organizations often pay attention to the financial losses that they might have to endure in case the problem was exposed, such as losing the account and probably losing some of the clients and associates along the way. Out of fear and reluctance to be blamed for causing the company losses and have their careers destroyed, a lot of the victims tend to be discreet. However, these fears diminish as the employees observe their managers take action. Top management have to take precautionary measures to protect the victim/ employee, and the employee is an asset to the company so managers have to make sure they retain their assets and minimize the risks of losses they might have to incur.
The procedures for dealing with harassment cases should be consistent and goal-oriented, regardless of gender differences. On the other hand, the company should pay close attention to the victim’s personality and analyze the situation with caution. They should investigate the matter systematically and take immediate and disciplinary action to solve the problem (Velasquez, 2010). One of the many organizations that practice unethical behavior is Wall-Mart. Wall, mart is originally an American public corporation that runs a large number of department stores, it is famous for selling various products at the cheapest prices. In 2010, Wal-Mart was chosen to be the world’s largest public corporation in the world by revenue. (Freeonlineresearchpapers, 2005) Though wal-mart discount stores employ a large number of employees, it is still considered to be unethical due to its practices against labor rights and laws. Some of the main unethical practices have been highlighted.
Wal- Mart practices unfair treatment of employees, and we can see that clearly through the action lawsuit that represented more than one million women who went against Wal-Mart stores. Most women faced discrimination as women were not promoted, nor trained and not even paid as much as men. Women were not treated the same way men were. This lawsuit is considered the largest in the American history for if Wal-Mart loses this case, it would be paying billions of dollars to those women who faced Wal-Marts discrimination and abuse for years. (Friedman. E, 2010). Another unethical practice that is highlighted is the employee’s wages.
An average employee at Wal-Mart is paid around $12,000 to $17,000 a year, which is considered very low and forces those employees to apply for public assistance which pays them from the taxes that other Americans pay for their country. (Friedman. E, 2010). The main reason that makes Wal-Mart pay very low wages to its employees is that it wants to cut its operation costs and also continue offering lowest prices for the public since that is what they are famous for. They consider that to be more important than paying their employees well. Not only that, but Wal-Mart sometimes doesn’t pay its employees overtime though its policy states that its employees must be paid for every extra minute they work. That was one of the main reasons for filing a suit against Wal-Mart. The case is still pending. (Freeonlineresearchpapers, 2005).
A third important issue is that Wal-Mart was caught recruiting illegal immigrants in October 2003, federal agents uncovered several hundreds of workers who are illegally working for Wal-Mart by outside contractors, what Wal-Mart did is considered to be a huge illegal issue that breaks the immigration laws in the country. It is now a target of a class action suit. Wal-mart replied back to this issue by saying that it is not their fault that they have illegal immigrants working for them, it is the contractors’ fault since they are the ones who brought them through illegal ways and they have to sew them instead of Wal-Mart, and the case is still on. (Freeonlineresearchpapers, 2005). On the other hand, Target Corporation is Wal-Mart’s greatest rival. Target is the second largest discount chain in the United States, it is known for its low prices. Target opened its first store in 1962 in Minnesota.
The company has grown into America’s largest companies (docsoc,2010) with over 350,000 employees, the company operates in approximately 1500 stores in the US, they also provide online shopping services which include grocery, fashion, delivery etc their online business is called target.com (Brown D, 2010). Target has great prospects, dealing with the large diversity within their organization and the issues that follow these diversities in their workplace. (Target Corporation). What makes target a unique company is the “diverse individuality of their team members,” (Target Corporation). Target ensures a commitment to diversity by hiring team members in the early stages of recruitment from a diverse group of people. Target’s goal is to ensure that the diversity of their employees reflect the communities in which they are located. (J. Groves, 2007)
According to national statistics, the average of hiring employees of ethnic minority is about 30 percent. Target’s recruitment of minorities exceeds the statistical expectation of 30% and increased it to 41% in which most of them are from ethnic minority backgrounds. More statistics show that target has a commitment to employing more women than men; this is explained by the 59% of their workforce which happens to be women. (national statistics ,n.a). Target has won numerous national awards for their gender diversity. Organizations like’ national association of female executives’ recognized the efforts target is focusing towards the benefit of working women. They were named as one of the top 30 companies for women executives in the United States. (National Association for Female Executive, 2005). In 2004 target was named one of the 100 best companies for working mothers. (Working mothers magazine, 2004).
Target uses diversity in every area of their business, they recruit people with unique expertise and experiences from different backgrounds, by having different people from different background. As target cooperation stated “a diverse team is good for our business” (Target Corporation). Targets main aim is to find the most qualified employees, who are highly self motivated, with high performance and great talent, and combine all these attributes and all these individuals to bring a highly diversified work environment. Target emphasizes on a harassment free environment, it is enclosed in their workplace rules and regulations. According to target’s workplace rules and regulation, they have a very strict policy against unlawful workplace harassment on the basis of sex, color, age, religion, nationality, citizenship status, sexual orientation, or any other protected attribute.
Target encourages a workplace that is free of violence, threat of violence, stalking or unacceptable behaviors. (P. Meyer, 2007). In contrast with Wal Mart, Target has an ethical way of recruiting their employees, they have an environment that is discrimination free for women, and the wages paid by target adds up to $42000 a year, whereas Wal-Mart’s minimum wages adds up to $17000 a year. Wal-mart should recognize that a business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business, that will definitely have adverse long term effects. Moreover, if the ethics are poor within the top level managers, then the behavior is copied down throughout the organization. (Robert Noyce). With their faults highlighted, Wal-mart have put themselves in a position where they must compensate to their employees. Wal-Mart could try to make a settlement with its low level managers by giving them shares in the company. As for the rest of the staff a well deserved bonus at the end of the year could motivate and encourage them.
With this action implemented, there will be no cash outflow problem and there would be great enthusiasm among the workforce knowing that their hard work is benefiting the company, and their own families. Wal-Mart in this stage might try to implement new laws related to discrimination and fairness. Treating people equally is essential to being an effective and productive organization. They must work with employees to solve problems and constantly improve performance. (www.idea.gov.uk,2009) Equality at the work place benefits the employee, by boosting their self confidence, giving them a feeling of importance and respect also providing equal and fair access to a variety of jobs, training and promotion. It benefits the organization since now the company has sufficient alternatives for contributing towards the growth of the organization. The employees can work towards maximizing their potential, thus leading to the long term growth of the organization.
It is vital that these countries and organizations that still make discrimination on the basis of, color, race and gender. They should look at embrace diversity, adopt the concept of equality and benefit from it. We are in a new age that believes that equality is the best quality. (C.Kapoor,2010) Another problem is the recruitment of illegal immigrants which is an extremely important issue. First and foremost they should come to an agreement with the labor supply that forces them to implement the laws of the country, otherwise the penalty from the immigration would have to be paid by the supplier and the employer. Ethical Behavior Brings Tangible Benefits to Organizations, a study reports the results of thirteen academic studies, that relate ethical to corporate behavior, or “good corporate citizenship,” will only bring out positive business outcomes.
Good corporate citizenship improves employee relations and results in human resource benefits. The factors identified include more effective recruitment; higher retention; and better morale, loyalty, motivation, and productivity. (Choor , Curtis. C, 2001) Thus, It is no wonder why Target and many others try their best to be ethical. The Walker study has found three major areas of employee concern that companies need to address in order to build a culture of stronger, more loyal relationship, fairness at work, care and concern, and trust in employees. To achieve these goals, a value-oriented code of conduct is the first necessary step towards greater consideration of ethical issues during the decision-making process. (Choor , Curtis. C, 2001)