Why Treat Employees Fairly?

Why Treat Employees Fairly?

We’ve seen that a main way employers foster ethical behavior is by ensuring that they treat employees fairly. For most people the answer to “Why treat employees fairly?” is obvious, since most learn, at an early age, some version of But there are also concrete, reasons to treat employees fairly. Arbitrators and the courts will consider the fairness of the employer’s disciplinary procedures when reviewing disciplinary and discharge decisions. Fairness also relates to a wide range of positive employee outcomes. These include enhanced employee commitment, enhanced satisfaction with the organization, job, and leader, and to “organizational citizenship behaviors” (the steps employees take to support their employers’ interests). Job applicants who felt they were treated unfairly expressed more desire to appeal the outcome. Those who view the firm’s testing programs as fair react more favorably to the selection procedure, and view the company and the job as more attractive.

Employees who view the firm’s drug testing program as unfair are less satisfied and committed.

Behaving Unfairly Workplace unfairness is often subtle, but can be blatant. Some supervisors are workplace bullies, yelling at or even threatening subordinates. The employer should, of course, always prohibit such behavior. Many firms do have anti-harassment policies. Not surprisingly, employees of abusive supervisors are more likely to quit their jobs, and to report lower job and life satisfaction and higher stress if they remain in those jobs. Mistreatment makes it more likely the employee will also show higher levels of “work withdrawal,” in other words show up for work, but not do his or her best.

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