HR is generally part of management and adheres to the policies of the company. They are the heartbeat of the workforce. When an employee needs to invoke the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), HR is one of the first to know. If an employee is dealing with challenging times in their life, HR may be assisting the employee in receiving Employee Assistance Program support. HR has the power to help employees so they can take care of their personal needs and be a productive worker. They play an essential role in maintaining a smooth workplace.
What happens when HR falls short on their duties or neglects to inform the employee of his right to utilize FMLA or another program? It hurts the employee, and it can damage their morale so bad that they will only do the bare minimum to get by at work. What saddens me is the HR personnel who have lied to employees, so they were unaware of programs that could help them in their time of need. I have witnessed many HR personnel lying or asking employees to bring in copious and unneeded medical paperwork that was needed to justify taking FMLA. The management was nosy and wanted to know more about the employee’s health issue.
I was told to support my management. Then I was told not to support the employees at one of my last federal jobs. I have always been a HR “maverick” and follow the personnel program’s guidelines. What was the cost for me? I was threatened, three times with termination from my job! I still stood my ground and helped the employees. I had to face myself and the actions I took that day.
HR personnel must speak up and take a position of doing the right thing in the workforce. If their management asks them to do anything that hurts an employee—they must refuse to take any action that is not in alignment with helping employees. After working 29 years in HR, I have seen too much abuse and many deceitful actions from HR personnel. I am so sick of it!
While filing disability discrimination charges against my former management, I found my HR staff aligning with our management. Often, I would receive incorrect information about taking FMLA or filing for worker’s compensation. I would challenge the HR staff that provided faulty information. I would ask them what directive, regulation, USC code, or policy they cited. I already had researched my answers—I was testing the HR staff. I also called them out for lying to me and asking for “additional” unnecessary paperwork that violated my medical privacy. I refused to give my HR staff anything that was not mandated. I also reported them to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
I’ve never had a problem in showing an employee a reference to their questions about FMLA or other personnel programs. I had nothing to hide or gain. After serving twenty years in the Air Force, I have a no-nonsense attitude about being betrayed or lied to in the workplace. I take a very assertive stance when I am lied to about personnel programs. HR personnel need to remember they are not “special,” and they are not “gods.” HR personnel are “service workers” and should be supporting the employer and the employees. They are in a position to help people and increase the productivity of the workforce. They can have a significant impact on the “life force” of a company.
I believe in civil and safe work environments. Check out Dawn’s articles.