Comcast Corporation, a leading cable, telecommunications, and entertainment public company, was incorporated in 1969 (Funding Universe, 2014). The fourth largest cable company in the United States, it enjoys the patronage of 4.4 million subscribers in 21 states with its cable, cellular and wireless telephone products, which bring in enormous revenues. It also accounts for 26% of the entire manpower in the industry (Comcast, 2013). It boasts of a diversified workforce selected only from choice applicants, which come from drones of almost 5,000 every single day. Its executive vice president for human resources proudly stated that its employees are highly selected for their innovativeness. This excellence is needed to deliver company products and experiences to the homes of their millions of customers (Comcast)
Its employees design and invent new technologies and applications, develop innovative products, create new television programs and shows and movies, report news stories and theme part events and experiences. Comcast, therefore, makes available solid jobs in several communities throughout the country where its employees bring company products and experiences to the homes of their millions of customers. It also claims to favor unionism among its employees (Comcast).
B. Four HR Problems
While Comcast proudly and publicly professes to be pro-employee, pro-union and selects only the best employees, employees themselves state the opposite (CAP, 2004). They attest to the wide gap between this popular claim and the actual company practices, some or many of which have been publicly exposed. Four of these are the following:
1. Race Discrimination
A class suit was filed against the company on November 28, 2011 at the U.S. District Court (2011) on November 28, 2011, represented by nine African-American employees (Bennan, 2011). They accused the company of creating and maintaining a racially discriminatory environment against them who worked at the company's South Side location. They identified these discriminatory conditions as forcing them to work under substandard conditions in the facility; forced to install infested, defective and used equipment into customers' homes; made to work without the needed tools to diagnose and fix service outages, same training and promotional opportunities as other employees at other facilities, and without equal pay or fair evaluation of their performance and production as these other employees; and, in general, were subjected to a hostile workplace environment on account of their race. The complaint also alleged that customers they serve in this location receive poor service as compared to that in other locations. These consisted in substandard service, such as installation of defective, used or infested equipment and service outages (Brennan, U.S. District Court).
Nature of the Problem -- It is deeply rooted in racism, which is simply hard to die. Overtly, there are laws, which seem to ameliorate it to an extent. But covertly or unconsciously, it is in reality difficult to eliminate in individuals and corporations. Effects on the Organization -- the class suit will send the message of discrimination to all employees of all levels. Since Comcast has a diversified workforce, the class suit will demoralize its employees and perform inferiorly, rise in protest or leave the company. Some of these may be the good ones who give the company its reputation and attract customers. Recommended Measures and Implementation -- If Comcast wants to live by its commitment as an equal employment opportunity and affirmative-action employer, it will make an objective assessment of the lawsuit or ask a disinterested consultant to make the assessment. If the accusations are found true, Comcast should address and resolve each of them for its own sake and for the sake of the customers in the South Side area and the morale of all employees.
2. Anti-Union Practices
Word got around that employees resorted to unionize as a result of chronic anti-labor practices at Compast (CAP, 2004). These practices included being required to perform more than routine work without additional compensation, unsafe working environments and unfair evaluation processes. When they formed a union, their wages were frozen or they were terminated. Managers in the Chicago area moved 195 jobs from areas with unions to those without. The Salt Lake City branch gave pay increases as rewards to non-union employees (CAP). A report, entitled "No Bargain: Comcast and the Future of Workers' Rights in Telecommunications" was recently published by American Rights at Work (civil Rights, 2014). It documented the unfair labor grievances at Comcast taken from the records and reviews of the National Labor Relations and interviews with some Comcast employees (Civil Rights).
Nature of the Problem -- When legitimate grievances are not heard or insufficiently addressed or remain chronic, employees have no other alternative but to form a union and bargain with their employer. Effects on the Organization -- anti-unionism affects all employees, even those who are not union members. It sends the clear message that their legitimate grievances can be ignored. They will all be demoralized even the management tries to maintain the loyalty of non-union members by rewarding them in any way. Anti-unionism also brings legal trouble to the company, especially because it an EEOC and Affirmative Action employer. And its reputation will suffer among customers and potential investors. Internal unrest will signify instability and injustice in the company and damage its reputation. Recommendation/s and Implementation -- If its commitment to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action is real Comcast should confront the legitimate grievances of unionized employees rationally. This will also avoid penalty or censure from EEOC and the labor courts. If it cannot accede to some of the terms of the bargain of the union, management should offer to compromise. But it should deal with the issues squarely and sincerely. This is not only the right of the workers and the duty of Comcast. It will also be to the overall welfare and reputation of Comcast to do so.
3. Employee Disability
An employee filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Comcast on account of long-term disability (Mirando, 2010). In his complaint, Daniel Antley alleged that he was fired without valid cause in December 2010 after working for Comcast for almost 10 years. He also said that the incurred the disability as the result of a back surgery in August 2007, which prevented him from working for at least six months. He added that his supervisors instructed him to return to work after only four months or suffer termination if he exceeded four months. He also stated that he had to have another back operation in June 2009 after which he was subjected to harassment, discrimination and retaliation upon his return. He argued that his unjust termination led him to incur large expenses, such as the unpaid mortgage of $401,000, penalties and other living expenses. He also had to personally pay for benefits and other expenses, which he did not have to do if he remained employed at Comcast. He sued for monetary damages (Mirando).
Nature of the Problem -- Some employers feel that disabled employees are a burden in the workplace or the organization by needing to adjust to their disability. Disabled employees, for their part, feel that they are being discriminated or retaliated against and feel unwanted and burdensome for their condition. Disability discrimination is prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Effects on the Organization -- The organization may incur additional expense in coping with employee disability, unless the disabled employee takes over the expense or the disability is so slight as to affect his work, other workers and the workplace. Otherwise, the disabled employee can claim full protection from the Act. If the disabled employee's rights are ignored or he is harassed or disadvantaged in any way, he can file a discrimination lawsuit against the employer and this can incur costs and loss or damage of reputation. Recommendations and Implementation -- Since disability discrimination is prohibited by law, Comcast should deal fairly with the disabled employee. It should just make sure that the condition will not in any way lead to additional costs to the company or inconvenience of burden anyone in the organization or cause absenteeism or tardiness in the employee.
4. Securities Fraud
Members of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA accused Comcast of putting their stock options at risk (Online Legal Media, 2014). The company announced in the third quarter of 2007 that its net income decreased by 54% because of slow subscriber growth. In December that year, it announced in the papers that it was reducing its 2007 user growth forecast of 6.5 million revenue generating units and its revenue and cash flow growth projections lower than expected. The value of the retirement plan substantially fell, as a result. Under ERISA, members can sue Comcast if they can prove that Comcast violated its fiduciary duty to them. This is Comcast's responsibility to invest in the plan (Online Legal Media).
Nature of the Problem -- This fraud occurs if and when the employer places its own interest ahead or above its investors. In this case, the investors are the member-employees. Comcast exercises discretion in…