Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Employment Issues Hit Close to Home

Two stories in today's IDS have some bearing on issues of employment law and policy.

First, this story details the latest in the search for IU's next president. Note that many jobs in academia do not fall under the traditional employment-at-will rule (e.g., tenured professors as we discussed in class the first week or sports coaches who get paid long after they've left their posts). Administrators like the president of the University are no exception. The next president's employment will be subject to a multi-year contract, not terminable at will.
Second, there is the story about the ongoing controversy over the Trustees' decision whether to outsource certain functions that are currently performed by IU employees. Outsourcing (and it's international sibling, offshoring) is, and has been, a hot topic in human resources management and is rife with legal issues, especially with a unionized workforce. What do you think? Setting aside any legal technicalities with which you may not yet be familiar, how do you balance this potential cost saving against the effect it will have on the employees? In a situation that treats the employment contract as relational, what would happen?

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