Managing Diversity in Employment

Please read the case study below and answer Question in Bold below (Take note: Singapore Degree).

Case study: When it’s Hard to Move

HRM is a complex phenomenon. There are many different types of people at the workplace and both operating managers and the HR unit must know the different issues facing the diverse groups of individuals. People differ not only on internal dimensions such personality, knowledge, attitude, beliefs, values, etc., they also differ on more visible factors like race, age, sex, height, weight, disability status, cultural/religious practices, language accent and rhetoric, dressing/appearance, etc. When conflicts arise, they may mix with these external and internal differences and the conflicts may worsen. Alternatively, such differences may be the causes or sources of conflicts. The greater the degree of diversity of employees at the workplace, the more frequently diversityâ€Ârelated conflicts will arise. HR and operating managers must be trained to handle these conflicts. As people move in and out of the company, the diversity structure within the organisation changes over time. This is exacerbated by the fact that some of the diversity dimensions of an individual may also change over time, such as when a person changes his religious belief, ages or becomes disabled. Each of these diversity dimensions warrants a special set of treatments based on expert opinions/advice if operating and HR managers want to handle them well. In the case of employees with disabilities, it may even be an emotionally daunting issue to address. When an employee develops disabilities and cannot perform his/her duties, what should a company do? Legally speaking, if there are no laws to prohibit employers from dismissing employees with disabilities, the employer has the right to fire the employee once it is apparent that the employee fails to meet the performance reasonably expected of him/her. The employee may then lose his/her income and his/her and his/her dependents may have to look for alternative sources of income. As most companies can survive only if they make a net profit on the services and/or service they sell, employees with disabilities are typically not able to produce the level of value added need to justify his/her employment. To the extent that he/she can perform, one option is to downgrade to a lower valueâ€Âadded job that justifies a lower pay. For example, some book binding companies do employ people with disabilities to bind books. The pay is low but the employee gets to keep a job and the company can still sustain as a going concern. In case the employee’s disabilities wipe out his/her ability to work totally, the employee must depend on his/her own savings, donations, friends, or relatives for mere survival, let alone going out to work. It can be quite disheartening for an employer to have to let the employee go especially if the employee has worked for a long time for the company and has been a good performer. What would you as an operating or HR manager feel and do when you have such a case on hand? Let’s be candid, think about it, and take action.


Beyond the contractual and legal provisions, what other moves would you consider to help these people as well as their dependents (assume that they have contributed valuable services to your organisation)?

Word count: 1200

Deadline: 11 Jan 16

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