The concept of business law is one of those control mechanisms that allow considering legal, ethical, and other issues arising in the work process within a single organization. This practice is common in the modern business environment, in particular, among big companies with a large number of employees. One of the areas falling under the influence of such a concept is worker arbitration, which is the mechanism for the transfer of authority to resolve emerging legal disputes to the private arbitration system. According to Thompson, the issue of fairness, which inevitably arises in this type of conflict resolution, causes a public outcry quite often (66).
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As an example, the case of a public effect was the situation with Google and the dissatisfaction of its employees regarding the arbitration policy. Campbell argues that the company’s workers were outraged by the conditions that existed in the corporation and, in particular, its response to sexual harassment claims. As a result, a significant number of stakeholders were involved, which was a testament to the concerns of employees about the current conditions of labor obligations.
Applying the concept of business law in assessing such a situation is objective. Those norms that are enshrined in the provisions on mandatory conditions for the interaction of employers with employees imply observing official ethics. Also, the principles of conflict resolution that are prescribed by the internal conditions of a particular organization are usually to be respected. When analyzing employee arbitration in terms of the convenience of this system, Steingold notes that such a mechanism for resolving legal disputes is convenient for most companies (207). It is faster and significantly cheaper compared with cases where conflict complaints are considered within the framework of traditional judicial instances.
Moreover, the entire process of proceedings is held in private, which allows companies to preserve the anonymity of all the hearings and prevent internal issues from being submitted to the public. As a result, organizations promoting such a principle of resolving disputes have more benefits than employees who have to agree with such conditions and rely on the objectivity of the decisions made by appointed boards. However, when considering the analyzed case of Google, not all workers intend to support this conflict management principle.
The ethics of business relationships among managers and subordinates provide for the observance of the norms prescribed by both generally accepted laws and individual companies’ internal regulations. Consequently, if an employee is faced with a controversial issue regarding his or her rights, the mandatory arbitration system is designed to solve such a problem on the spot. The concept of business law in the economic activities of most companies makes it possible to resort to assessing both conditions for compliance with legal grounds in the process of discussing certain issues.
The dissatisfaction of Google’s workers with the existing principles of conflict resolution is due to their concern about the illegality of this approach and its potential injustice. Nevertheless, today, as Colvin argues, more and more large companies choose such a mechanism for organizing internal investigations, which is legally permissible. Based on the assessment of the legitimacy of utilizing private hearings for considering cases and issuing specific verdicts, the business code allows for internal proceedings. Such an employee-oriented principle may be disadvantageous for those workers who intend to conduct lengthy litigation in state institutions. Nevertheless, it greatly simplifies the work of courts and helps companies to develop their policies of self-control.
The business law concept also has other positive aspects for the activities of organizations in the context of the arbitration system. Keay and Loughrey note that managers can control the degree of their responsibility and accountability to subordinates, thereby creating a positive reputation for a certain company. In case the mechanism of private hearings does not imply the clear violation of employees’ rights and is impartial, this approach is more beneficial for both parties.
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Firstly, workers do not need to waste time on lengthy litigation. Secondly, employers can protect their intellectual base and prevent the leakage of valuable information. As a result, such interaction regulated by the generally accepted business concept contributes to converging managers with employees.
When returning to the case of Google, it is worth noting that the employees of this corporation were displeased for the reason that they felt a biased attitude towards the resolution of conflict situations. Nevertheless, the practice of protest against the existing principles of the organization of arbitration may be ineffective. According to Campbell, in most large American companies, such a mechanism is maintained, and its conditions are often spelled out in contracts that workers sign when they are hired.
As a result, the requirements for the cancellation of this rule are unfounded since the staff is responsible for the requirements that are imposed on them under the terms of contracts. Therefore, to eliminate dissatisfaction and maintain a favorable microclimate, managers must ensure fair conditions for the consideration of employees’ complaints and not to allow bias in order not to violate the ethical standards of business communication.
Campbell, Alexia F. “Google Employees Fought for Their Right to Sue the Company – And Won.” Vox. 2019. Web.
Colvin, Alexander J. S. “The Growing Use of Mandatory Arbitration.” Economic Policy Institute. 2018. Web.
Keay, Andrew, and Joan Loughrey. “The Concept of Business Judgment.” Legal Studies, vol. 39, no. 1, 2019, pp. 36-55.
Steingold, Fred S. The Employer’s Legal Handbook: Manage Your Employees & Workplace Effectively. 13th ed., Nolo, 2017.
Thompson, Dale B. “Teaching the Business Law and Ethics of Arbitration after Concepcion.” Journal of Legal Studies Education, vol. 34, no. 1, 2017, pp. 63-88.