In every discipline, be it accounting, manufacturing, or human resources, implementing Best Practices means leveraging the experience of others by using techniques that have been proven in the real world to work more effectively and efficiently…GOOD IDEA! However, in the highly regulated world of HR for California employers…NOT GOOD ENOUGH! The fact is that you really need both solid HR practices and detailed HR compliance to minimize the risks to your company of serious financial consequences.
Unfortunately, if you are the subject of an employee claim, both your HR practices and your compliance will be the subject of careful scrutiny. And, small errors – intentional or not – can turn out to be very costly. In our experience, the areas that create the most exposure are:
– A work environment where employee concerns are not encouraged to be expressed. Small items fester, employees lose focus (and draw the focus of those around them), and, feeling powerless, employees feel the need to be heard via a claim.
– Lack of clear and concise HR policies and expectations. An up-to-date handbook, signed off by every employee, is your first line of defense.
– Lack of documentation or inconsistency in handling commission and earnings agreements. Commission agreements are required to be in writing, including specific stipulations. In addition, earnings policies (i.e. bonuses, etc) need to be applied consistently.
– Once a claim is filed, ALL communications with the employee will be reviewed, as well as all payroll and HR records. Are you sure everything you have in your files will pass scrutiny?
– In the specific case of a harassment claim, are you sure you have a legally appropriate person handling your workplace investigations, who has the experience needed to maintain control of these unique and regulated types of investigations?
If your specialty is something other than HR, we suggest that you get advice from an HR Professional who can recommend HR practices that are proven, as well as help keep you in compliance as needed. As regulations are release or updated, they should also be able to recommend actions that keep you compliant with the least disruption to your business operations. Finally, you should have a process in place for your business that gives you awareness of industry trends for the best ways for you to protect your businesses while creating an innovative work environment.