What is Human Resources (HR) Really Like???
Employees have the misconception that HR is on the employees side or at least neutral. That is a false assumption. This short Guide will give you my perception, based on working for two large companies, a Community College and 13 years of talking with clients.
IntroductionI do almost exclusively Employment Law. Clients come to me and invariably tell me, "I went to HR and they were on the side of my boss." Or, "HR told me the company has done nothing wrong." Or they delay getting back to you or ignore you.
The reality is, that in I estimate 80-90% of the companies, HR has three functions. Protect the company from being sued. Protect the CEO, Officers, Chairman of the Board, and Officers from getting put in jail or sued. And third, protect every Vice President from getting sued.
The RealityWhy do they do this??? There are two reason. They are TOLD to do this. And, they are paid by the company. If you think HR is neutral, think about how they protect themselves. It goes to motives. Do you think HR gets good marks if it sides with the employee? Guess again. I had a case, where the company Equal Employment Opportunity Official that worked for the company and was the internal go to person for Discrimination type complaints, told my client everything was fine. She saw no wrong doing by her manager. (Of course.) The lamb to the slaughter. We settled that case at the EEOC stage for over two years pay. Of course my client kept a journal for over a year, had documents, and a grasp of what to say and how to say it. And you could tape in that State.
HR's job is to make bad things go away. When I was fired as a chemical engineer, (See my write up in the profile and in my other Guide, "I Think I'm Being Treated Illegally at Work: What should I Do?" ) I was fired, because I would not do what I considered to be illegal. HR and management had a meeting with all my direct reports and said I was stealing from the company. In my complaint found in Federal Court records, besides the retaliation and whistle-blower claims, was a claim for defamation. During that meeting four people were taping.
ConclusionSo the bottom line, is you have to go to HR, but unless you are in that 10-15% of companies with an HR department that tries to do what is right, just journal what HR says to you. Smile, go back to work and see how long any change that might occur last. Keep journaling.
Just about everything in business revolves around self-interest. From the CEO right on down. HR is no exception. Oh, they can help you with benefits, that is the law. The can help you with relocation or travel policy or expense account rules. But for true illegal activity in the workplace against you...., you bests talk with an employment attorney just to get a reality check and be told to start keeping those email and journal and if you can in the state where you live, record that guy talking about sex all day and how much he would love to sleep with you. He's probably not going to stop.