Why HR Managers Can’t Say “Because I Said So”

August 25, 2016

Most of us have heard – or said – MOMisms and DADisms like “Because I said so!”, “Don't ask me WHY. The answer is NO.” and “Enough is enough!” And while parents may effectively get away with such terms, HR managers cannot. You will hear retorts like “You’re not the boss of me”, “Stop harassing me”, and “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer”, if you don’t consider your explanations more carefully.

This is because HR managers must consider a myriad of laws when deciding whether to reprimand or discipline an employee. In addition, your employee/ex-employee may take the “discussion” public through postings on social media, which brings additional legal issues into the equation.

Nevertheless, HR managers must effectively manage the workplace, and can do so within the constraints of labor and employment laws if they know how to avoid the “landmines.” In addition to handling day-to-day HR matters, HR managers must know what they can legally do with regard to employee social media postings, off-duty harassment of co-workers, political activity, conduct detrimental to or competitive with the company’s business interests, and whistleblowing.

In doing so, HR managers must be careful in what they say, and how they say it. Poor word choice can lead to problems for employers, which frequently results in litigation that may otherwise have been avoided.

Submitted by Michael R. Blum

Participate in the two-part on-demand webinar series designed to help employers and human resource professionals identify laws and communication choices when dealing with off-duty conduct and HR documentation with expert presenter, Michael R. Blum, Attorney, Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC. The first session is “You’re Not the Boss of Me: Employee Off-Duty Conduct” and the second session is “It’s Not Just What You Say, But How You Say it: HR Do’s and Don’ts.