Create a custom converter for your Employee class then register it against the select item list:
Your converter class implements javax.faces.convert.Converter which has two methods:
In getAsString just cast "value" as "Employee" return employeeId from the object.
In getAsObject assume "newValue" is the employeeId and look it up in the database/persistence mechanism or however you want.
Using a converter in this way will get the Employee into assignEmployee.
Change the way you create select items to get the Employee name:
[ May 16, 2007: Message edited by: Daniel Rhoades ]