Employment law sits right at the heart of the HR profession. When hiring, rewarding, disciplining and firing staff, careful attention must be paid to the relevant labor regulations. Failure to follow these regulations can lead to disgruntled employees, governmental fines and expensive law suits. HR and recruiting professionals must have a comprehensive and up to date understanding of employment laws if they are to perform their function effectively and mitigate risk to their corporations. Below we have described what steps a HR professional can take to develop and maintain their expertise in current legalities.
1. Join the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
With, 250,000 members, SHRM is the world’s largest professional association focused on HR management. Joining SHRM provides the user with immediate access to a broad range of legal resources relating to employment topics such as: Benefits, Leadership, Compensation, Diversity, Employee Relations, Labor Relations, Safety Security, Ethics CSR. By joining SHRM, you, as a busy HR professional will always have a wide set of employment law guidance at your finger tips. The SHRM site has both Federal and State specific guidance on employment laws.
2. Sign up to Employment Law Bulletins
Employment laws are constantly changing and what was right yesterday could be illegal today. So, as well as having access to legal guidance, HR professionals need to be able to keep up to date with changes. One of the best ways for you to do this is too sign up to an employment law bulletin from a reputable source. SHRM has an employment law update that you can sign up to and this is called the ‘Workplace Law Bulletin’ and can be found in their legal section. It includes summaries of legal decisions, and legislative and regulatory news and changes. They also have a California Employment Law Bulletin.
The US Department of Labor also has a newsletter which you can subscribe to. This provides a detailed and ongoing commentary on regulatory news, changes and analysis. The DOL site also has a Newsroom and you can find the current news releases at this location.
3. E-laws tool from the Department of Labor
The US department of labor publishes its own exhaustive employment law guide, and with the development of their new E-laws tool, its is much easier to read and digest than it has been previously. The elaws Advisor tool simulates the interaction that a HR professional might have with an employment law professional, in that you ask questions and it provides answers.
For those of you who prefer a class room format for learning about employment law, then you should attend the SHRM annual Employment Law Legislative Conference which takes place in March of each year. The key benefit of attending this kind of conference is that you will be able to network and interact with key legislative decision makers in Washington and make your views known.
As you can see, there are a range of resources and communication channels that HR professionals can use in order to both familiarize themselves and remain up to date with current employment law. New technology is making it possible for this to be accessed on demand via the internet or ‘pushed’ out to HR professionals via newsletters or tweets.