One area of business law that many may not even think of as an area of law is a department most businesses have within their makeup. It is the Human Resource Department. This department, more than any other has to know and follow the laws of the business world. Your Human Resource Department handles all the issues that deal with your employees.
The first department a new employee will become familiar with is the Human Resource Department. Even before someone applies for a position in your company, the Human Resource Department creates a job description and testing procedure for that job. During the application process, a potential employee hands in resumes and applications with Human Resources and schedules any meetings or testing. When first hired, an employee most likely will spend a fair amount of time in Human Resources filling out the required paperwork to start working. Some of the forms will include forms dealing with income tax, health insurance, life insurance, employee rules and if there is a union, any union material. All these forms and the information handed out by Human Resources has been created by business lawyers and your Human Resource employee must understand the reasons for the documents and be able to answer any questions.
Your Human Resource Department will also be the department to handle discipline issues. Nowadays, employers need to take complaints from their employees very seriously. An employee may complain about discrimination, a hostile work environment, ergonomic issues or violations of union contracts to name a few. All complaints brought forward by employees need to be handled appropriately and timely. Another duty of your Human Resource department might be to negotiate with unions for contracts or grievances. It is essential that your employees in your Human Resource Department are knowledgeable about labor laws in order to effectively represent your interests in any union matters.
It is easy to see that your Human Resource Department is actually a mini law firm right in your own company. No, they aren’t really lawyers, but these employees typically have similar knowledge about employee issues. You can help them stay on top of issues by sending them for trainings to keep them informed of any changes in labor and state laws. The more aware your Human Resource staff is, the more you will be able to save money on legal issues. Of course, it’s always wise to have an attorney on retainer for situations that require professional legal guidance.