What recourse does an employee take if their advocate, Human Resources (HR) is no longer fighting for the employee, but uses their power to block the employee from fair treatment? When would HR drop the ball on purpose?
While I am usually the one getting beat up because I support HR and the value they bring to the organization, lately my team has been letting me down by not doing what is right and going out of their way to block and tackle the employee from fair treatment. While HR must straddle the fence and be willing to support the employee at times, and the company at other times, I fully expect them to at least make decisions.
My first example is a company that has not had a training function, and for 2 years has been saying “we need to build a training function” and yet here we are, with no training function. Sure, they might not want the outside help I am offering and wish to do it with their own internal resources. so what is preventing you? Why are they allowed to drop the ball on this initiative and every single employee gets shafted because they don’t want to get involved?
In this case the reason is that the line managers and senior leaders have not prioritized this initiative high enough to make things happen. While that might sound like a good excuse, it does not forgive HR from making it happen because it is the right thing for the company and employees. they dropped the ball because no one is making them pick it up.
My second example is a company that allowed a termination of an employee to occur while HR ignored some unethical circumstances on the part of management, yet still approved the termination. However, when this employee documented these concerns to HR and the next level of management, HR is going out of its way to drop the ball in hopes it goes away without having to address it.
In this case, I know the terminated employee. I also know that HR is dodging the issue hoping it will just die off. Normally the best recourse is to involve senior management, which this employee did when they notified them along with HR. When senior management gets involved things usually move toward a resolution, but in this case it didn’t work. So, the recourse the employee is left with is hiring an attorney. Since the company is ignoring the employee, when it gets escalated through a lawsuit, the employee can show that the company did nothing for 10 weeks. While the company could have settled out of court, they stand a better chance of paying a larger award because they dropped the ball on purpose.
While I support the HR function, I dare say I have met both the all-stars and the losers in this field. Like with most professions, the losers manage to tear down the reputation of the profession which is why HR struggles so often to prove value. I wish more companies paid attention to this function, and realize they can build a company up or tear them down. When HR drops the ball, it is because they want to shield themselves from harm. No one should allow this to happen.