write an essay about employers making their female employees work while on maternity leave. This can be either making them work from home or making them return to the work place before the company policy allows them too. Please compare it to SHRM’s professional code of ethics. Please use Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting 3rd edition as a reference. Below is the goals and objectives.
Students will demonstrate professional behaviors consistent with a professional code of ethics for HROD practitioners.
Write an essay answering questions regarding their compliance with a professional code of ethics (e.g. SHRM and the OD Network).
Students will recognize ethical dilemmas that an HROD professional faces, evaluate alternative responses, select and defend a solution.
The working mothers
The motherhood can be seen as an exciting moment for most women as it offers a responsibility of raising a child. It also changes the perception in the society and work place and therefore requires one to have social and personal adjustment to cope with the situation. Some employed women feel insecure about their job security and leave options and often prefer working at home even when on leave to keep their jobs. There is a need to support working women since the responsibility of taking care of the child affects the woman’s working life more than the man. In some countries especially those with joint family systems, the women can leave their children to elderly so that they can work. This offers benefit for the mother to perform dual roles of motherhood and work efficiently. However, the stress loads are higher for women who stay alone and this maternity leave benefits them to raise a child before taking to day care children homes.
In the cases where a mother is forced to work at home during her maternity leave, she faces many challenges. She is stressed to prepare food the baby, wash the clothes, do house chores and look after her home simultaneously while working. The house work is still considered the woman’s domain in many societies therefore working women have higher responsibility of domestic front and work place. This can significantly affect her productivity and if not checked it can lead to errors that reduces the quality of the work done. The society’s view on the working women is changing, initially the rush of married women to work was traditionally seen as a choice between career and family. It was complained that the woman going to job early leaving their children to maid causes rise in juvenile delinquency. The enlighten woman sees the need to have social security and financial independence so as to supplement the family income.
Pregnancy and maternity
The employee should be prepared to congratulate female employee upon announcing that she is pregnant and give her ample time to prevent potential pregnancy complications. As an employer one has to know what to do regarding pregnancy and maternity leave to prevent discriminative measures that is prohibited by law. It is also vital for expectant woman to understand the statues that that provide leave benefits to new parents and pregnant women. As in this case, the female workers are working while in maternity leaving showing the ignorance of women for their rights. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) has been adopted in United States that requires all the employees to provide maternity leave for expectant women. Many countries around the world have similar law to safeguard the interest of the women. However, it is important to note that PDA does not force employers to provide paid maternity leave to women therefore one could expect that the woman on maternity leave cannot be forced to work even at their homes unlike this case.
The woman’s case is easy and can be easily handled by the employment act that protect the women against unfair dismissal if the employer terminates her job for failing to work while on leave. The women are protected against unfair treatment from their employers on the basis of their pregnancies. If the woman has been working for a long time in the same company, then she is entitled to get maternity pay. She should not be struggling to work on her leave. However, the woman is supposed to give an early notice, about 21 days before starting the leave so as to receive a letter from employer indicating when she is supposed to report back to job. All terms and conditions of employment must continue to provide job security for the woman.
SHRM’s professional code of ethics
The human resource (HR) professionals are supposed to add value to the organization by contributing to ethical success. In this case the employer is violating this principle by not advocating for engaging in activities that enhance credibility and value. Forcing women to work on leave is not right.
The HR professionals, in this case the employ is expected to be role models in maintaining highest standards of ethical conduct.
Fairness and justice
The employer is ethically responsible for promoting and nurturing justice and fairness for their organizations and all employees. The organization provides for maternity leave for women; however the employer is violating this rule by forcing women work at home.
Conflict of interest
A high level of trust must be maintained with stakeholders including workers, shareholders and the management. According to this code of conduct, the employer is expected to protect the interest of the shareholders by not giving them work on their leave. The employer lacks professional integrity that is fundamental for ensuring that one does not engages in activities that create conflict of interest.
The professionals must strive to meet the highest standards of competence and continually commit to improve competencies in the organization.
Any form of discrimination against women is prohibited by law. The PDA is clear on employee-employer relationship and it prohibits against any form of discrimination on applicants and employees on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy or related medical conditions. The employers who have fifteen or more employees must comply with the civil rights act. Under the law, the employer cannot deny job or promotion to a woman who is pregnant or has aborted. Neither can employer fires a woman because she is pregnant. The employer is required to offer maternity leave; however, a woman cannot be forced to maternity leave as long as she is still capable of doing her job.
The law requires employers to treat pregnant employees equally to other employees on the basis of their inability or ability to work. The employer therefore has to provide similar conditions to expectant woman as to other employees who are unable to work. A good example is a factory sector that requires lifting of some heavy materials. In this case, the employer is expected to provide some arrangement to expectant women not to do laborious work just as an employee with a back problem is relieved from heavy duties. This woman should have been given opportunity to finish her maternity leave or be allowed upon her wish to continue working but on light-duty positions even if they are working from home.
However, the employer has the right to demand doctor’s note before allowing her to collect benefits or go for maternity leave just as it is applied to other workers who are sick. There are various provisions under PDA that protect the woman against discrimination during her pregnancy. In this case, this employer risks fighting a losing battle if a law suit is brought to court by the women. Charges of discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and related condition may bring great penalties to employer unless the reasons for forcing her to work at home are not related to her pregnancy. This is difficult case since the woman is already under maternity leave and she is still forced to work.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
When a worker becomes pregnant then under the federal FMLA, her employer must consider the right of the woman to take leave. The eligible employees for FMLA leave are allowed to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave while their job is still protected no enable them leave for birth and take care of the child. However, the woman must have worked in the company for more than one year (12 months). Also the employers with more than fifty employees must comply with this act. FMLA act also provides for the new parents both mother and father to take a leave any time within twelve months after child arrival but must resume work before the end of the 12-month period.
This case shows the violation of core principle of SHRM code of ethical and professional standards in human resource management. To build credibility and respect, the employers are supposed to respect their employees. These codes are intended to serve in achieving organizational goals and objectives. The employer is facing problems of violating code of conduct. Attack has been mentioned by Peter Block as one form of resistance that employers face. Angry words and finger pointing cannot solve the situation (Block, 2011). The effective response is to offer kind response to employer and I would advise/her to consider following the rules of the organization and state laws regarding pregnancy and maternity leave. In this case also the women are supposed to air their forces. Keeping quit means they will not get their right to maternity leave without work.
Confusion is also experienced by both the women and the employer as per Peter Block regarding the best course of action. The silence is reported to be the worst in resolving the problem. The women are passive and are not posting any challenge or resistance to violation of their rights by their employer. In fact, Peter Block mentioned that some of the client may not take seriously the suggestions that are intended to help them. The employer needs to be told to reconsider his/her actions in relation to core principle of professional responsibility. The employer should work in consistent values of profession to prevent legal actions against their organizations. The principle of professional responsibility further stipulates that the employers should comply with the law.
To deal with this dilemma the employer should accept his/her responsibility of advocating appropriate use and appreciation of employees. High level of performance, service and social responsibility cannot be achieved without commitment of the employers. Peter Block further recognizes moralizing attitude as a setback in accomplishing change to right actions and positions. Moralizing is seen as a way of defending against the reality (Block, 2011). The employer knows that the women should not be forced to work on leave but still violate rules. On the other hand, the women also know that they should not be forced to work. The ethical leadership is lacking on the part of the employer. Moralizing creates uncomfortable feeling for the women to take uncomfortable action against the employer. The employer should set standards and be example to other or else risk facing legal action. The only way of earning individual respect and increase their credibility with employees is to do the right thing and stop violating women’s rights.
Compliance is the most difficult form of resistance to both the employer and employee as per the Peter Block. The employer and women after knowing the right thing faces difficulty in putting the words to action. Both partners have reservations about given course of action but I believe doing the right thing frees one’s conscience. The right course of actions promotes justice and fairness for women employees within the organization. Respecting intrinsic worth of female employees means respecting their rights to have maternal leave free of any office work. Treating people with respect, compassion and dignity does not involve forcing them to work when they are not supposed to. Harassment, unlawful discrimination and intimidation violate the principle of fairness and justice that requires personal decisions and the decision made by organization to be legal and ethical.
Maintaining control has been proposed to be the most valuable asset to the organization. Maintaining control is vital for fostering productivity and performance within an organization. The control dictates the authority and responsibility of employers to value their workers. To prevent conflict of interest, the employer has to organizational policies that have been put in place to unify course of actions in all emerging issues. The core principle of conflict of interest is meant to prevent the employers from using their position for financial, material or personal gain. The principle advocates for the obligation of employers to recognize and identify potential source of conflict and disclose them to relevant stakeholders. The employer can raise the issue of forcing women against the organizational policy to the management to seek for corrective measures.
Block, P. (2011). Flawless consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used. John Wiley & Sons.