Improving Annual Performance Reviews Term Paper

Length: 6 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Careers Type: Term Paper Paper: #97807756 Related Topics: Annual Report, Age Discrimination, Unfair Labor Practices, Pay For Performance
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Employment Law

Federal labor laws covered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission contain fundamental information of which managers must be cognizant and wholeheartedly employ. The labor laws address intuitive issues, but they are by no means intuitively understood as there are many conditions and situations that determine how the laws are applied, and to whom they may be applied. Management must ensure that employees with supervisory capacity receive thorough training in the laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

What's more, management must be sure to create a company culture that embraces the federal labor laws and that ensures managers will work in good faith to achieve benefits for the company and for the employees. From the Walmart case study, managers can clearly observe extremely inappropriate intimidation and retaliation of employees attempting to organize. There are many lessons to be learned from the callous, irredeemable behavior of many managers working at Walmart. Walmart provides a good case study for how not to manage personnel issues.

There is absolutely nothing positive that can be said about the culture of a company that tacitly agrees to treat employees so poorly, let along deliberately hires people for management positions who have the inclination to treat employees in such a reprehensible manner. To ensure that companies keep themselves out of court, out of trouble, and in the good graces of their employees and the unions, a number of recommendations for conducting fair, yet comprehensive employee performance reviews are provided.


Employers cannot retaliate against workers for supporting a union or endeavoring to attend union meetings or participating in a strike ("OOEC," 2014). Nor can employers intimidate workers to discourage them from backing or joining a union ("OOEC," 2014). Federal law forbid retaliation across all aspects of employment: the law is interpreted broadly and includes job assignment and promotions, compensation, scheduling, hiring and firing, layoff, training, fringe benefits, union organizing activities, and "any other term of condition of employment" ("EEOC," 2014). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that,

"All of the laws we enforce make it illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise "retaliate" against people (applicants or employees) because they filed a charge of discrimination, because they complained to their employer or other covered entity about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in an employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit)" ("EEOC," 2014).

A caveat: there are certain required attributes of a company that determine whether it the firm is covered by the laws that are enforced by the EEOC. Notably, the number of employees in a given company is pivotal to the eligibility of coverage by the EEOC. Other stipulations vary according to the type of employer involved and the kind of discrimination that is alleged. That is to say that the laws vary somewhat depending on whether an employer is an employment agency, a federal agency, a labor union, a private company, or a state or local government agency ("EEOC," 2014). In addition, discrimination claims can be based on age (40 or older), color (skin), disability, gender, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race, and religion.

Discrimination claims are generally considered to be difficult to prove, with the burden falling squarely on the employee or job candidate. However, blatant discrimination, particularly in the form of retaliation or intimidation, often provides a clearer case for employees to bring. One company with a deserved reputation for blatant discrimination is Walmart. A discussion of Walmart practices is relevant here as it illustrates how a culture of disregard for employees, organized labor, and


Long lists of Walmart labor violations (and violations in a number of other categories, as well) are widely available and, it is fair to say, added to continually.

In January 2014, the general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board charged Walmart with committing illegal activities in 14 states. The ruling was the result of N.L.R.B's finding that roughly 70 Walmart workers were unlawfully disciplines and 20 of the workers in that group were also fired -- all on the heels of participating previously occurring strikes and protests that were associated with the group known as "Our Walmart." Our Walmart is backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, but is not actually a union. The organized Walmart employees who are members of Our Walmart filed the complaint with the labor board, citing illegal intimidation of workers at the Walmart stores in Placerville, California, and Richmond, California. Indeed, Our Walmart has organized a series of protests against Walmart over the past three years. On Black Friday in 2014, Our Walmart sponsored protests at more than one thousand Walmart stores around the country. The organized workers protested for more full-time jobs, a base wage of $15, and "an end to what it says is illegal intimidation and dismissals" (Greenhouse, 2014). The protests seem entirely warranted, as underscored by this brief case study.

During the week of December 8, 2014, National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge, Geoffrey Carter, decided against Walmart managers in California, citing they had unlawfully disciplined six employees at the Richmond, California, store for going on strike -- and told them that they would be looking for a new job when they returned to work after the strike that lasted just one day, and Walmart managers illegally threatened to close a store to keep workers from earning their wages if any of the employees at that store joined a group that was demanding higher wages (Greenhouse, 2014). The disciplined and terminated managers apparently felt free to say whatever came to mind when intimidating the employees.

Walmart workers who brought the case quoted the managers, saying that the remarks included: "If it were up to me, I'd shoot the union." Moreover, one Walmart worker who was wearing a rope around his waist and using it to pull a heavy load was told by his manager that, "If it was up to me, I would put that rope around your neck." With regard to a milder incident, Judge Carter determined that the Walmart dress code was overly broad in that it did not prohibit or discipline an employee who wore a shirt that had "Free Hugs" written on it, but Walmart did unlawfully forbid employees to wear clothing that had "Our Walmart" printed or embroidered on the items of clothing. The administrative law judge ruled that the Walmart dress code for the California workers "unduly restricted associates' rights to wear union insignia" (Greenhouse, 2014). Judge Carter also ordered Walmart to remove any write-up notes or reference to the disciplinary actions in the personnel files of the six employees who were unlawfully intimidated for going on strike in Richmond.

Private Employers and Employment Labor Laws

Private employers must be particularly alert to the situations that are covered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The law states that private employers with 15 or more employees working for the employer for at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or previous year are covered by the laws of the EEOC. With regard to general coverage, complaints can be brought against a business or private employer for discrimination that involves race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, disability, national origin, and/or genetic information. Additional laws focused on age discrimination cover businesses that have 20 or more employees who worked for the business or private company for at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or previous year. Virtually every employee is covered by the Equal Pay Act (EPA). The EPA federal law forbids payment of different wages to men and women if they perform work in the same workplace that is substantially equal work.

If it is not already apparent, it is worthwhile emphasizing that it is a complicated process to determine whether or not a private employer or business is covered by the laws of EEOC. Employers with any doubts about the terms, conditions, and parameters of their coverage should contact an EEOC representative in a field office -- without delay -- so that an appropriate determination can be made. Moreover, private employers should be advised that even when an employer is not covered by the EEOC enforced laws, that local or state anti-discrimination laws may still cover business or private employer. If this is found to be the case, the private business or employer will be referred to the appropriate state or local agency that oversees compliance and enforces the relevant laws.

The complexity conveyed in the section above about the applicability of labor laws to private employers and businesses serves as reminder that what is confusing must not remain so. It is critical that management provides timely and pertinent training to middle managers, supervisors, shift leads, and other employees who are in a position to interact with employees in ways that potentially conflict with the laws covered by the…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bloom, L. (2010). Learn fromWal-Mart's employee-review lawsuit: The innovators. The Street. Retrieved from

Greenhouse, S. (2014, December 10). Walmart illegally punished workers, judge rules. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Hartman, L. & Bennett-Alexander, D. (2012, July 1). Employment Law for Business. New York, NY: Business And Economics (7th ed.).

Sachs, B. (2010). Revitalizing Labor Law, 31. Berkeley J. Employment. & Labor Law, 333. Retreived from
____. (2014). U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retreived from

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