Ethical issues in HR, Unethical practices of HRM

31/07/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

Ethical issues in HR

Equal Opportunity

The HR managers must regularly monitor the company’s hiring practices to make sure there is no discrimination in the hiring process based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, religion and disability. However, simply abiding with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines does not guarantee ethical behavior.

Harming Some While Benefitting Others

HR managers do much of the screening while the hiring process is still on. By its very nature, screening leaves some people out and permits others to move forward. In short, the ones left out will be affected by not getting the job, no matter how much they need it.

HR managers can neglect the emotionalism of such situations by adhering strictly to the skill sets and other needs of the position, but there will always be a gray area where HR managers may scale how much each applicant wants and needs the job.

Privacy Issues

Any person working with any organisation is an individual and has a personal side to his existence which he demands should be respected and not intruded. The employee wants the organisation to protect his/her personal life. This personal life may encompass things like his religious, political and social beliefs etc. However certain situations may arise that mandate snooping behaviours on the part of the employer. For example, mail scanning is one of the activities used to track the activities of an employee who is believed to be engaged in activities that are not in the larger benefit of the organisation.

Race, gender and Disability

In many organisations till recently the employees were differentiated on the basis of their race, gender, origin and their disability. Not anymore ever since the evolution of laws and a regulatory framework that has standardised employee behaviours towards each other. In good organisations the only differentiating factor is performance! In addition, the power of filing litigation has made put organisations on the back foot. Managers are trained for aligning behaviour and avoiding discriminatory practices.

Performance Appraisal

Ethics should be the basis of performance evaluation. Highly ethical performance appraisal demands that there should be an honest assessment of the performance and steps should be taken to improve the effectiveness of employees. However, HR managers, sometimes, face the dilemma of assigning higher rates to employees who are not deserving them; based on some unrelated factors eg. closeness to the top management. Some employees are, however, given low rates, despite their excellent performance on the basis of factor like caste, religion or not being loyal to the appraiser.

Safety and Health

Industrial work is often hazardous to the safety and health of the employees. Legislations have been created making it mandatory on the organisations and managers to compensate the victims of occupational hazards. Ethical dilemmas of HR managers arise when the justice is denied to the victims by the organisation.

Restructuring and layoffs

Restructuring of the organisations often result in layoffs and retrenchments. This is not unethical, if it is conducted in an atmosphere of fairness and equity and with the interests of the affected employees in mind. If the restructuring company requires closing of the plant, the process by which the plant is chosen, how the news is to be communicated and the time frame for completing the layoffs is ethically important.

Unethical practices of HRM


They sometime indulge in unfair practices like one or more of the following:

(i) Creating split in union leaders by inducing regionalism, casteism or ego problems

(ii) Not caring for just demands of the Trade Union and not behaving respectfully with union leaders.

(iii) Trying to create rift between different unions if there are more than one recognised union.

(iv) Biased attitude in selection, transfers, promotions, and training and development activities.

(v) Giving different treatment and facilities to different people in the same level posts.


However some common problems are as follows:

(i) False claim of age, qualifications and experience. Some even forge marks cards to claim certain qualifications.

(ii) Producing fake certificates of SC/ST category to obtain a job in that category.

(iii) Head of personnel projecting or short listing candidates belonging to his commonly, region or religion.

(iv) Creating transfers, openings, promotions suiting to their own kith and kin.

(v) Taking decision very slow or very fast to suit conveniences of own kith and kin.

Government Agencies:

Government agencies role is reducing year after year due to lesser employments in government sector.

However, the unfair or unethical practices continue in government sector in following manner:

(i) Announcing the vacancies and not taking any action further. Not clear about processing dates, written tests/interview dates and selection dates. Accountability is totally lacking.

(ii) Functioning of government employment offices is not transparent, not reliable and in fact its purpose is not well served.

(iii) Government offices and selection committees will be excessively cautious of reservation quotas and possible court cases rather than going through the responsibilities in an unhindered manner.

(iv) Most of the time the government selections get stalled or delayed due to situations like question paper leakage or court cases,

(v) The government method of selections is at best suited to low paid jobs and not for senior level posts.

Manpower Consultants:

By and large manpower consultants do a good job as mostly they are hired by the private organisations. Moreover their services are mostly for official posts and there is no statute to follow rules of reservations.However, here also sometimes certain unfair strategies do take places:

(i) Consultants tend to play the caste and regional game since they are free to operate the way they like.

(ii) There is possibility between HRD managers of corporate and consultants to organise selections as per their own plans and strategies which invariably helps kith and kin, community and regional following.

(iii) Some consultants guide candidates to alter the bio-data to suit the corporate.

Outside Sources:

The outside sources dealing with corporate are vendors, dealers, traders, customers, courier service, statutory offices representatives, banks and financial institutes. The interaction of these people will be more frequent, though there are many more people contacting the corporate.

The conduct, transactions and dealings of these outsiders also influence the ethical and unethical values and conduct of corporate employees. It is very important that outsiders conduct themselves in such way that the values and attitudes of both sides are fair and just. Deviation of fair attitude leads to wrong decisions, corrupt practices and damage to the corporate reputation.