Is There a Maximum Rate of Pay?

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Ted Smith, the Total Rewards Manager for Front Appliance Company, was a pretty relaxed and friendly guy—an easy-going manager. Although he was a no-nonsense, competent executive, Ted was one of the most popular managers in the company. This particular morning, however, Ted was not his usual self. As chair of Front’s job evaluation committee, he had called a late-morning meeting at which several jobs were to be considered for re-evaluation. The jobs had already been rated and assigned to Pay Grade 4. But the office manager, Ortho Janson, was upset that one of his employees was not rated higher. To press the issue, Ortho had taken his case to two executives who were members of the job evaluation committee. The two executives (Production Manager Peter Strong and Marketing Manager Margo Arms) then requested that the job ratings be reviewed. Peter and Margo supported Ortho’s side of the dispute, and Ted was not looking forward to the confrontation that was almost certain to occur.

The controversial job was that of receptionist. Only one receptionist position existed at Front Appliances and Rebecca Reichart held it. Rebecca had been with the firm 14 years, longer than any of the committee members. She was extremely efficient, and virtually all the executives in the company, including the president, had noticed and commented on her outstanding work. Peter and Margo were particularly pleased with Rebecca because of the cordial manner in which she greeted and accommodated Front’s customers and vendors, who frequently visited the plant. They felt that Rebecca projected a positive image of the company.

When the meeting began, Ted said, “Good morning. I know that you are busy, so let’s get the show on the road. We have several jobs to evaluate this morning and I suggest we begin…” Before he could finish his sentence, Peter interrupted, “I suggest we start with Rebecca.” Margo nodded in agreement. When Ted regained his composure, he quietly but firmly asserted, “Peter, we are not here today to evaluate Rebecca. Her supervisor does that at performance appraisal time. We are meeting to evaluate jobs based on job content. In order for this to be done fairly with regard to other jobs in the company, we must leave personalities out of our evaluation.” Ted then proceeded to pass out copies of the receptionist job description to Peter and Margo, who were visibly irritated.

Please respond to the following in a well-integrated Case Assignment: 

  1. In an educated opinion, was Ted justified in insisting that the job, not the person, be evaluated? Discuss.  
  2. As an HR professional, was there a maximum rate of pay for every job in an organization, regardless of how well the job is being performed? Justify your response. 
  3. Assume that Rebecca is earning the maximum of the range for her pay grade. In what ways might she be able to obtain a salary increase?
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