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Can HR Pros Learn On the Job? Maybe They Shouldn't...

Most positions involve a certain degree of on-the-job learning.  Can the same be said for human resource functions?  The answer is yes, of course HR pros CAN learn on the job…but is this safe?  That’s a matter of opinion.

When mistakes of those with HR responsibilities result in visits, inquiries and significant consequences from federal regulators (like the IRS, DOL, EEOC and others), the answer changes.  There is no safe on-the-job learning with those kinds of stakes.

Those responsible for human resources or compliance monitoring need to be well-educated and well-prepared long before complicated situations arise.  The consequence of error is costly in terms of time, money and reputation.

Consider that…

  • The Department of Labor estimates 80% of employers may not be fully complying with wage and hour regulations. (And employees are increasingly empowered to report wage and hour violations.)
  • The number of workplace discrimination complaints with the EEOC peaked in 2010 with 99,922 claims resulting in over $404 million in payouts from employers.
  • Common practices like retaining employee personal and occupational health information in the same electronic record run the risk of violating federal disabilities and genetic discrimination laws. 

Even with a robust human resources and compliance monitoring team in place, companies should perform audits of their policies and procedures every 2 or 3 years.  HR Audits should identify gaps where new policies need to be developed and look for existing procedures that employees may be following.  With constantly changing laws and compliance rules, regular audits are even more important.

Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) is another way to protect yourself against these risks.  Check out our white paper on 5 Signs You May Be at Risk for an Employment Practices Suit to evaluate your oganization's exposures.


Topics: Transportation Construction Safety / Compliance HR / Employee Benefits Manufacturing