The Fairness Game —Fiorenza

You’re starting to wonder about the monkeys, aren’t you?

The lack of fundamental fairness in the workplace—or perhaps, more to the point, a perceived lack of fairness—is the single greatest cause of the host of human resource problems plaguing graphic arts industry managers today. These include problems ranging from baseless employment-related lawsuits, to low productivity, high absenteeism and runaway turnover. The lack of fairness generates deep conflict, even among those with the same goals. And, as such, real and perceived fairness must be actively preserved in the successful workplace.

We all know that the workplace has become a tremendously regulated environment. Employment law issues are not only increasing in complexity, but more and more attempt to regulate an employer’s subjective judgment rather than merely mandate compliance with a precise set of rules. Early employment laws established minimum wage standards, hours of work rules, and thresholds of workers’ compensation and disability insurance. These were relatively simple “yes” and “no” rules.

As time passed, employment laws began to invade the realm of employer decision-making and activity in the imprecise arena of human interaction. Anti-discrimination legislation and the case law that interpreted and expanded its scope, require an employer to police the attitudes and conduct of its managers and employees.

Today, anti-discrimination/anti-harassment legislation is beginning to give way to the even more imprecise and difficult-to-manage concepts. Some states are now considering legislation regarding the emotional impact of work-related issues on individuals and even the need for the employer to ensure basic civility between employees.

As employment law obligations move further away from mere compliance with a set of rules and more associated with the regulation of human interaction in the workplace, managers will have to respond by incorporating the lessons of the fairness game into everyday management.

What does this have to do with monkeys? You’ll see.

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