Common Sense or Litigation

The predominant atmosphere of an organization is something that is contrived from the end result of the interaction of all the people involved in its operations. Like a family with members as imperfect individuals, likewise none is perfect in an organization, for disagreements come in a thousand ways. Great minds may produce great ideas and favorable actions may enhance relationships, but contradicting ideas may also warrant respect and attention for in many instances, these ideas may present as purposes which could alter the normal flow of activities of an organization. Even the greatest laws and regulations promulgated to provide a pathway for job satisfaction may not be perfect enough to clear all misunderstandings and conflicts.

Denial of employee rights, mistreatment, senseless firing, discrimination, sexual harassment, safety, and many other problems abound in the labor force. Some of these problems may arise inadvertently, intentionally, or accidentally, and many of these conflicts end up in legal battles. The HR department, acting as an advocate, may maintain the good and enticing work atmosphere of the organization by the use of developing and enforcing the employee rights while making the managers aware of their obligations to employees. (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, Cardy, 2010, Managing Human Resources) It is also believed that managers who significantly respect the rights of employees develop a strong morale and high job satisfaction among the workforce.

Laws and Regulations

Laws and regulations imposed by the Department of Labor, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Department of Homeland Security, and OSHA, are some of the institutions that have promulgated the guidelines for the welfare of both the employer and employee. The HR department and the managers must be knowledgeable on these enacted laws in order to determine fairness, employee rights, and ethical behavior in the workplace. Still, no matter how familiar the HR managers are on these laws, misperception may always constitute a fuel for most of the conflicts. Different circumstances happen in the workplace in which the definition of some obligations and misunderstanding must be clearly identified to delineate the boundary of error and to identify who or what was responsible for the shortcoming. Laws are reviewed to point out the differences. The organization may be beset by legal issues when people settle their differences not by simple compassionate terms but by emotional legal battles. The volatile situations are reviewed with the help of lawyers whereby the winner may be compensated and the uneasiness resolved by litigation.

Laura Gilbert (2010), on Reducing the Litigious Climate in Organizations, stated that, “Society's heightened awareness and acceptance of lawsuits as an expected and potentially lucrative option has resulted in employees filing legal claims as a knee-jerk reaction to negative workplace situations” (para. 3) During disputes, an employee may often turn to review legal rights and may look for solutions to prove the deceit imposed unto him or her and also prove innocence.

The Changing Society and Economy

Everyone is familiar with the downtrend of economy and how it has affected families nationwide. Not only the workforce is concerned but most organizations that cater to supply and demand are affected negatively in one way or another. Many well-known organizations closed shops with fewer companies developing to replace the lost ones. The aspect of exporting labor and developing companies elsewhere for cheap labor is being exerted. Globalization has its toll on the nation, where the whole idea originated in the first place. The places which can produce high quality goods for a cheaper price are the survivors and became top notch at some levels. Some companies that demand for skilled jobs have been easily filled up and many among the workforce have been misplaced by bankruptcies and downsizing. Society’s attitude toward work and the way it is evaluated changed greatly from the last decade. The maxim that implies- ‘the survival of the fittest’ or ‘the best employee will be retained’ still holds true; yet, this is not the best direction toward good distribution of labor.

Gilbert, L (2010) implied that as with the present economy, people and employees lack the support structures to assist them in life’s challenges, like building healthy relationships and coping with equality issues by the encouragement derived from community affiliations and religious institutions. These traditional places of support are less obtainable at present and people become isolated when crises arise. The intrinsic and personal difficulties may affect workplace issues and may cause to diminish trust, hope, and confidence. Many attributes do influence work motivation and attitude, yet surely a gloomy economic outlook is one. The employee hears of daily rumors regarding downsizing, mergers, multi-tasking, restructuring, and all the vague notions of instability that has become the new norm in the workplace.

Litigation and Compassion

The society which is affected by the changing economy and the employee attitude toward the workplace environment may be a complex issue to resolve, yet sanity dictates that litigation can be avoided and stressful situations can be lessened by compassionate dealing with employee terminations. According to Bowman, (2004), on Avoiding Workplace Litigation, stated that, “The key to any successful termination is the employee perception that, "the company cares." This means that the dismissal must be done in a compassionate way, with a fair severance offered (preferably two weeks per year of service, but a minimum of one), continuation of paid medical benefits for the severance period, and job-search assistance in the form of outplacement services. Job-search help can include one or two-day workshops for lower level employees and more lengthy one-on-one coaching for more senior supervisors/management.”(para.4) Furthermore, he implied that a company with a helping hand during a time of crisis may result in few dismissal lawsuits (Bowman, 2004). Counseling is much appreciated and important at this stage because the employee is directed to future confidence rather than look back in anger and hostility. Public image of the organization must also be protected for terminations and lawsuits are some factors that unfavorably affect the financial and moral disposition of any organization.


There are many cases of terminations, discipline and discharges. Litigation becomes common for emotions play a great role in a changing economy which has affected the work environment. Gilbert, L (2010), implies that the direction toward legal battles is not clear cut violations of the law but as a result of heightened emotions from other people’s actions and behavior. Workplace issues then that affect negative feelings must not be ignored. A cold management style is not the answer. People still long for worthiness, acceptance, respect, and are open to motivation especially in times of crises when the common sense of understanding emotions must take precedence. Complaints must be heard as soon as possible and potential litigious relationship must be directed toward a partnership effort for both the employee and the employer.


Laura Gilbert, (2010), Reducing the Litigious Climate in Organizations, Retrieved from:

Luis R. Gómez-Mejía, David B. Balkin, and Robert L. Cardy, (2010), Managing Human

Resources, by Pearson Education, Inc. 6th edition

David J. Bowman (2004), Avoiding Workplace Litigation, Retrieved from:

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