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5 Legal Issues to Avoid in Human Resources

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Human Resources experts face difficult decisions that can have a profound impact on the lives of employees and the company’s success. This includes the need to make sure that the company’s and their own actions comply with the legislation which regulates employers’ obligations and employees’ rights. Here are some of the most significant legal issues that they have to focus on.

Employee benefits

HR professionals have to ascertain that all employees enjoy the benefits mandated by the employment law, especially salary, 401k plan, and annual, sick, and long service leave.

Apart from these benefits, an HR specialist should also think of other benefits to stimulate employees and boost their efficiency.


Maintaining confidentiality is a basic principle in human resources, and non-compliance can seriously damage the reputation of the company and end up in a lawsuit. Every sensitive data about the employees are considered confidential. The employers have to develop procedures to strictly safeguard the data, and to notify workforce in case a data breach happens. For the human resources department, they should also protect the data which is exclusively available to the management staff.

Employees sometimes ask for confidentiality when sharing claims and complaints with HR. However, some cases require further actions, including disciplinary measures or workplace investigations. For cases that require legal action, HR officers should not promise confidentiality. They need to strike a balance between disseminating information while hearing the issue from all relevant parties.

Workplace discrimination

The anti-discrimination law is also one of the first legal guidelines an HR offices has to master. Throughout all the stages of employment, from pre-hiring to termination, business practices should comply with the anti-discrimination laws. If an employee feels they were unfairly treated and had an adverse action due to their protected status, the company must prove that it was an unavoidable decision made for legitimate business reasons.

HR professionals have to know how to approach the needs of every employee, while accomplishing the company’s goals. They should also help the entire company overcome any discriminatory and harassment issues that may arise.

Workplace safety

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Lawsuits and charges complaining of a company’s negligence to provide workplace safety are common. Although there will always be hazards present, an HR professional should make sure that the company does its best to cultivate a culture of safety and that all employees are properly trained on these matters.

To avoid the risk of getting sued about workplace safety, and other areas that are possible subjects of employment disputes, the HR staff should document everything and make sure that all regulations and practices comply with applicable laws.

Labor rights

Human resource professionals have to be mindful of labor laws in general. For one, unpaid overtime hours often lead to lawsuits, so the company must provide systems to monitor overtime working house, while ensuring that employees are duly paid for them.

Wrongful termination is another common ground for lawsuits. For example, an employee may bring charges if they think they were terminated as a retaliation. To prevent these circumstances, HR professionals should keep accurate records to prove the legality of the termination. If it was caused by a redundancy, the employee may need to receive a redundancy pay, and you must follow the entire process through.

While there are other legal issues concerning employment, these are the most common ones human resources professionals should avoid. As long as they equally prioritize the company and the employees, most of these issues can be avoided. Tipping the scales to any party will cause problems for everyone involved, and often end up in employment disputes.

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