Article: HR is your legal safeguard: Here's how they protect your company from legal liabilities

Legal & Compliance Outsourcing

HR is your legal safeguard: Here's how they protect your company from legal liabilities

The Director of HR Business Partner at Model N explains how HR safeguards companies from legal liabilities, covering aspects from enforcing policies against discrimination and harassment to fostering positive employee relations to prevent disputes and conflicts.
HR is your legal safeguard: Here's how they protect your company from legal liabilities

Not too long ago, X found itself entangled in a legal battle concerning the non-payment of employee bonuses that were promised post Musk's acquisition. A federal judge ruled that X is obligated to face a lawsuit addressing allegations of failing to fulfil committed bonuses for its staff. Subsequently, the judge rejected X's attempt to dismiss the case. How could such a situation have been averted? Perhaps the solution lies with the HR team. 

In today's ever-evolving business landscape, human resources (HR) teams assume a pivotal role in shielding companies from legal liability. To delve deeper into this matter, we spoke to Ms Gunjandeep Kaur, Director - HR Business Partner at Model N. She shed light on the extensive responsibilities shouldered by HR in the legal domain. From ensuring workplace safety to handling privacy and data protection, she elaborated on the multifaceted aspects of HR's role in safeguarding the company from legal liabilities. 

1. Compliance with Employment Laws:

  • Stay informed about local, state, and federal employment laws.
  • Develop and enforce policies and procedures that align with legal requirements.
  • Regularly update employee handbooks to reflect changes in laws and regulations.

2. Employee Classification:

  • Ensure the proper classification of employees as exempt or non-exempt, and as employees or independent contractors.
  • Comply with wage laws to prevent issues related to minimum wage violations.

3. Discrimination and Harassment Prevention:

  • Implement and enforce policies against discrimination and harassment.
  • Conduct regular training sessions for employees and managers on these policies.
  • Investigate complaints promptly and impartially.

4. Workplace Safety:

  • Promote a safe working environment and comply with health and safety regulations.

5. Documentation and Recordkeeping:

  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date employee records.
  • Document performance evaluations, disciplinary actions, and other relevant information.
  • Keep records related to employee leaves, accommodations, and other legal requirements.

6. Termination Procedures:

  • Ensure that terminations are carried out in accordance with employment laws and company policies.
  • Document the reasons for termination to mitigate potential legal challenges.

7. Employee Relations:

8. Privacy and Data Protection:

  • Protect employee privacy by adhering to data protection laws.
  • Safeguard sensitive employee information and ensure the secure handling of data.

9. Legal Compliance Audits:

  • Conduct regular internal audits to identify and address areas of potential legal risk.
  • Work with legal counsel to address compliance issues and seek guidance when necessary.

By fulfilling these multifaceted responsibilities, HR can ensure the minimisation of legal risks, ultimately protecting the company from potential liability. Ms Kaur also emphasised, “the importance of regular communication with legal counsel, staying current with legal developments, and fostering a culture of compliance are essential elements in this regard. Through these efforts, HR emerges as a crucial guardian, navigating legal complexities to fortify the foundation of the organisation.” 

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Topics: Legal & Compliance Outsourcing, #IndustryInsights, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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