The Global Human Resources Outsourcing (GHRO) team is sharing some hard-won business insights directly from the source.
”A Practical Guide to Human Resources Management” is a 266-page guidebook to the intricacies of the world of employment from Jeff Stinson, founder and president of Global Human Resources Outsourcing (GHRO).
Chapter 7 – How to Deal with Their Issues
Let’s face it — everyone has issues. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t spend some time on a problem between an employee and his or her boss, subordinate or peer. The real trick is understanding which of these is just normal griping and complaining and which is real and requires action. Unfortunately, there is no real way to know until you investigate further. As a result, treat every complaint seriously. While John may be one of those “complainers,” at some point he may actually have a real issue, and if you didn’t take it seriously… well, see Chapter 8 (How to Stay Out of Court).
I would also set up a procedure that allows employees to keep their grievances internal rather than take them to an outside source, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or equivalent state agency. I would suggest a dispute-resolution process similar to the one included in this chapter of the book.
“Dispute Resolution and Arbitration Policy” includes sections on Application, Purpose, Policy, Definitions, Procedure, Forms and Counsel.
Other Things to Consider
Promote diversity in the workplace and treat everyone equally and with respect. Will this resolve all of your employee issues? Of course not, but it will go a long way toward making your employees believe you are fair and that you encourage them to share their issues with you.
So what are the latest and greatest things you should watch out for?
Have you ever played the game of Whack-a-Mole? Plaintiff attorneys are a bit like this in that as soon as you “whack” them with a defense to one issue, they find another one and up they pop. Today, that issue is retaliation. Fighting accusations of retaliation against an employee for sanctions of certain behaviors is difficult because it will often survive a summary judgment motion, which means you will have a jury trial unless you implement an arbitration policy (see Chapter 8).
Today, with proper training and policies, you see much less of this type of case. Take complaints seriously, as they can proceed to court very quickly and be very expensive.
Wage and Hour
This (along with retaliation) is the latest Whack-a-Mole issue. While wage and hour laws have been with us since the 1930s, it is only recently that plaintiff attorneys have figured out that these can be great class-action cases. For example, ever see hourly employees eating lunch at their desks? If so, you may have a problem. In some states, they can go back as far as three years for willful violations.
Can you decide against hiring someone because of what you see written by or about them on Facebook? Can you fire someone for what you see? What if they call you a jerk on Twitter? Here is the answer: I don’t know…yet. Here comes another round of Whack-a-Mole.
This is one of the protected areas of law that require you to accommodate the employee’s needs. What is a religion? What about a Wiccan? Stay tuned.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires accommodations for disabilities as long as they don’t cause undue hardship for the organization.
The list of potential issues is endless and will continue to develop over time. My advice is that, if you are unsure, call your HR consultant or an employment attorney.
Next: Chapter 8 – How to Stay Out of Court