Nepotism is prejudice used when selecting applicants for a certain position where favor is granted to an employers’ relatives or a current employee of the company or institution. In cases of nepotism, merit is diminished where skills, academic performance, experience, and character, which are the key factors to consider during the employing of an applicant, are regarded as not necessary or ignored. In public and government offices and other formal organizations, nepotism is regarded as an uncouth behavior and very unprofessional. It is a display of ill work ethic and regarded as an illegal act (Razavi, 2009).
It degrades the quality of output that a company has its products and services since the hiring of new employees does not stick to the objective of finding the most qualified person for a vacant position. It also affects the current employees’ faith and respect to their employer since they are forced to work with people who are not competent enough and not up to the task of the organizations’ activities. This leads to frustrating work environments and degradation in the quality of work produced especially where teamwork is necessary. Employees also have less incentive and psyche to perform their duties well when they see that the way to promotion is rigged with nepotism (Bureau, 2010).
Nepotism increases the risk of being sued for discrimination and hostile work environment. Nepotism takes place in various levels. It is apparent in politics where a politician passes his political position to his/her family member or uses his political influence to seek a vacancy for his/her relative. Nepotism is also practiced in companies where only people related to the employer or an employee holding a one of the top positions are the only ones being promoted and considered for employments. In the education system, nepotism can be seen where only certain members of a specific family are highly considered for acceptance to a school.
Some cases of nepotism are very evident and straightforward whereby both parties know what they are doing and in very good knowledge that it is illegal and has grave consequences. In the case of a case against Ms. Jenifer S. Duncan, a former executive Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology who used her position to negatively interfere with personnel practices when she improperly hired her friend and an acquaintance and signed him up for a pay rate higher than minimum. Both parties agreed to this acquisition and therefore were charged with nepotism (Roger, 2010)
The act of nepotism is only agreed upon when both parties involved are in full knowledge of what they are doing and whether or not they are allowed. If only one of the party’s is the one who full understands that he/she is committing nepotism then all consequences should be suffered by that particular party and if both parties are involved in the act then both parties should face the consequences of their actions(Vahid,2009)
In the Mr. Keith case, it is clear that Mr. Keith did not know that His uncle was an employee of the company at the time he was applying for employment in the same company. This makes Mr. Keith an innocent victim of circumstances.
For this case study, a historical research methodology is the most appropriate. This is because it is a research methodology for a well-structured, objective, and good synthesis of evidence in order to come up with facts and draw conclusions about the past events. It will involve stating the people involved, events that take place, when the events occurred, and what kind of human activity was involved. Interviews, document reviews, and questionnaires were utilized in gathering of data for the research. The key informants for gathering of data were employees of the company and review from several online sources. The decision and conclusions are based on the analysis of the data collected.
The issue is Mr. Keith Walton was fired on January 2006 on the basis that he had violated the anti-nepotism company policy at that time. The union argues that the company has no right to justify against the bargaining unit when company policies are poorly defined and not consistently regarded.
In 1995, the rule of employing of relatives is included in the General Operational Manual. All employees do not easily access the General Operational Manual therefore, causing a poor dissemination of information on company policies. The employee handbook is published in 1998 using “anti-nepotism” language. On January 5th1999, Mr. Keith W. Walton applies for a position and specifies that he had no relatives currently employed in the company. At that time, he did not know that his uncle had been hired. On April 30th 1999, Mr. Keith is hired as a helper. The company revises its General Operational Manual and inserts Employment of Relatives policy in the employee handbook. On November 2nd 2006, Mr. Keith Walton’s employment is terminated based on nepotism. This action is carried out when the company finds out that Mr. Keith has an uncle, Mr. Bill Williams, in its employ. Assistant Maintenance Superintendent, Frank Hayes, confronts Mr. Keith on whether the recent findings are true to which Mr. Keith confirmed that they were true. On his defense, Mr. Keith argued that on January 5th 1999 he did not have knowledge of his uncle’s employment in that company but that he had learnt of this fact later. Since 1995, the company has well founded and past examples of their employment of relatives’ policy that denies the hiring of relatives. The handbook specifically states that in such a case of an employee having a relative in the company as an employee, he/she “may” be discharged instead of “shall “be discharged. The company argues that the union is trying to obtain through false means what they failed to obtain during the negotiating of the changes in interpretation the hiring of relatives policy. The company also argues that it has a good reputation and strong and consistent actions against anti-nepotism according to its anti-nepotism policy. The company defends itself on the language used in the employee handbook, “may” instead of “shall” , as only a matter of meaning of the words and that regardless of the words used in the policy, the type of violation has always led to cease in employment.
In its defense, the union states that the policy is not well defined and inconsistently used and specifically points out that access to the General Operational Manual is very limited therefore, resulting to very few people knowing about the information it holds. The union also argues that none of the documentation made available by the Company stated that Mr. Keith’s employment has to be terminated due the fact that no matter the case what he had been accused of was a mandatory reason to be relieved of his duties. The union finally makes it stand by requesting that the Company’s Board revise their decision and restore Mr. Keith W. Walton to his employment position as a Maintenance mechanic at the Manatee Plant and compensate him for all benefits, overtime hours and wages denied to him during the time of his improper discharge.
Conclusion and Recommendations
According to information provided, the complaint on the issue of whether the grievant Mr. Keith Walton was properly discharged for allegedly violating the company’s policy on anti-nepotism should be considered. This case is quite complex and can be viewed from various perspectives. It is the company’s responsibility to check whether a person applying for a position has any relatives currently employed there. This is because the company has access to employee information that the rest of the public does not have; therefore, making it easier for it to carry out such a search. It should also review its policies and clearly define what nepotism means and which actions will lead to an act of nepotism.