How does your company handle human resource issues? Do you have a dedicated department or does your company rely on an HR consultant? Either way, there are probably some common issues that every office deals with at some point. Let’s take a look at some of the top legal issues that HR professionals deal with, especially with small or medium-size businesses.
What is a Human Resource Department?
Whether you have a dedicated HR staff or a consultant who handles your HR issues, you should know the basics of what they do. Most human resources specialists focus on a number of major areas including: recruiting and staffing, compensation and benefits, training and learning, labor and employee relations, and organization development. Human resources staff is also responsible for advising senior staff about the impact on people (the human resources) of their financial, planning, and performance decisions.
What are the Top HR Issues?
If you manage a small office you know that word spreads fast whether it is good news or bad. It’s very difficult to keep a secret in a small work environment. Therefore it is one of the top issues that a human resource specialist deals with. It’s critical to the day-to-day functioning of the workplace that complaints, problems, or personal issues remain confidential. It is not only an ethical responsibility, but a legal one as well.
Labor Rights and Compliance:
It is the job of a human resources department to stay on top of developing laws that pertain to the rights and protections for employees. This could include a safe work environment for the accessibility for employees with special needs. There are regulations on everything from hiring practices, to wage payment, to workplace safety. Take a few minutes to read through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Law Guide. If business leadership chooses to ignore the laws or believes that they do not apply to their specific workplace, then there could be audits, lawsuits, and possibly even the demise of your company.
This is always a touchy subject when it comes time for annual reviews that result in raises, bonuses or, alternatively, a decline in pay or hours. Human resources should always be involved if there is a review that is not stellar. The neutral party can help relay some of the findings and pave the way for improvement in work habits.
Do you have questions about human resources, especially the legal questions that inevitably crop up? Check out our workshop “Understanding Legal Issues in Human Resources” led by Maureen Pomeroy on November 13 at the Enterprise Center.