Provided by: Judge Ruth B. Kraft
I represent all types of employers, large and small, and see a quantum divide between how they handle their human resources functions. A fully developed organization, with 50 or more employees, typically has a staffer dedicated to HR and/or payroll functions. However, in my experience, most of those workers are “home grown” rather than HR professionals. Their knowledge of the applicable statutes, such as EEOC, ADA, NLRA, Title VII, ADEA, etc., etc. may be sketchy or inaccurate. And, as an attorney, I can tell you that most employers are reluctant to call unless there is a problem, and that is far too late in the game.
Do you know that a Gallup poll published in June, 2013 found that more than 50% of employees were dissatisfied with their jobs? Additionally, Bankrate.com found that more than 75% of workers live paycheck to paycheck. Rick Maher, president of Effective HR, says that common sense would dictate that there is a potential for actions by an employee against the employer, either directly or by reporting to a governmental agency. Businesses need to analyze their vulnerabilities and put HR policies and procedures into effect.
The first step that an employer should take is a compliance audit of its practices, files and the status of its employee handbook. If there are no handbook or written policies in place, then those need to be written, yesterday! And, of course, workers need to be trained on policies, particularly harassment and discrimination.
But, there’s more! Too many employers do not know how to maintain company files and what should be included in the employees’ personal files. The files are among the first items reviewed in an employee or government agency action. Job descriptions must be written and accurately reflect job functions and critical success factors, as well as disciplinary actions. For these matters, businesses which cannot afford a full-time, in-house HR staff can turn to outsourcing. The financial downturn of 2008 and its sequelae frequently resulted in the HR executive, responsible for discharging so many workers, being the last one out the door and Rick has been able to capitalize on this by harnessing a group of high level HR professionals who work as independent consultants and can serve a small business’s HR needs on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis, as required. This is considerably less costly than a full time HR staffer with significant benefits in terms of ability and experience as well.
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