Of all the job responsibilities that HR professionals have, one of the most important is handling employee relations situations which have the potential to raise legal issues. For this reason, it is vital for all HR professionals to fulfil employee relations training which will give them a basic knowledge of employment law. This way, they will easily be able to recognise situations with legal implications.
Although every company handles these situations differently, all HR professionals need to be aware of how to go about processing the various scenarios while keeping the law in mind. No matter what a company’s standard operating procedure is, it is important to identify the roles and responsibilities of HR within the organisation. This way, everyone working in HR will be aware of how to respond to these possible legal situations.
When deciding which member of the HR team will handle legal issues when they arise, the company must take into account a number of factors. Project team development may determine whether to centralise the HR department or have it decentralised with specialty groups. In the centralised HR department, everybody can handle all different types of the concerns which the division is being given.
In the other companies with the specialty departments, every subgroup holds the expertise in handling the specific issues like EEO, labour relations or ethics. Different organisations have implemented different techniques for how HR should approach employee relations training with respect to legal issues. Usually the chosen approach will be directly related to the context in which the issue occurs.
It has been recognised that in most organisations, a great majority of the issues are informally addressed with a manager or an HR generalist. Other companies have easily accessible procedures in place which allow employees to report a problem, including hotlines to call or drop boxes to submit a problem in writing. HR should establish a method for approaching an issue with the legal department before it arises.