Let’s discuss five tips that will help your company navigate tricky HR issues, and hopefully avoid a costly audit, investigation, or lawsuit. Tip number one, know the law. HR laws vary from state to state, so be sure that you’re enforcing the appropriate laws if your company operates in more than one state. Having a policy manual for each state is also highly recommended. This will help to ensure your organization is compliant, especially in states with tougher laws. Bi-state policies and procedures also help to minimize confusion between employees who may work in the different states and are therefore treated differently.
Tip number two, publish an HR handbook for all employees. Publishing a handbook for all employees will ensure that everyone understands what the policies are and how they will be enforced. Without having this written record, employees may be, or may claim to be confused about requirements or actions carried out by managers. A solid handbook serves as a go to instrument for answering questions and solving problems as they arise.
Tip number three, communicate, communicate, communicate. When HR issues arise, be sure that your company and HR department learn from the experience. And communicate your new found knowledge to employees. Obviously, it’s not always prudent to divulge all the details. But if possible, communicate with managers and supervisors what the HR department learns along the way. Avoid bearing knowledge or hoping the rest of the company will learn through some sort of magical HR wi-fi.
Tip number four, be consistent. If you are not consistently enforcing HR policies company-wide, employees will feel confused and may feel discrimination is in play. One example of frequent inconsistencies is the interview process. When interviewing internal or external candidates for vacant positions, be sure you follow a consistent set of procedures. Don’t ask one candidate more difficult questions or tailor interview questions on the spot based on sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other protected class without a qualified BFOQ, which stands for bona fide occupational qualification. Many HR issues surface simply because employees are not aware of the laws and rules that guide an organization.
Simply educating your employees shows the company values them as intelligent human beings. When workers feel valued and respected, they are more likely to follow the policies and be more cooperative during times of disagreement. Gather employees at least annually to review policies and procedures that affect everyone in the company. This training should be mandatory. Making portions of this training available online will benefit new employees as well as facilitate annual refresher training.
Employment law is a complicated puzzle. There are many legal issues that can arise in your company no matter how large or small your business. Following these five basic tips will help ensure that your HR compliance is secure.
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