A message to employers
Matt is a Manager and would like to know why he's been asked to attend employment law training. What does employment law need to do with Matt's job anyhow? His job requires him to ensure his employees are being productive and earning money.
Employment law is HR's responsibility. Matt has no time at all or patience for such matters. Sadly, Matt's conclusion couldn't be farther from the truth. Now, more than ever before Managers need to understand and be knowledgeable of the importance about the employment laws because adviding by the law, following the organization's policies and preventing law suits are part of the supervisor's job responsibilities.
Begrudgingly, Matt attends the training course and is fairly shocked by what he learns. The first portion of the class deals with hiring and what he what he can and can't ask the candidates he interviews. He never knew, for instance, you could not ask a potential employee if they're a US Citizen or inquire a female worker if she's married or ask an employee if they're handicapped. Who knew?
In fact, in most states the legislation prohibits employers from asking questions concerning citizenship, marital status, disability and sexual orientation among other stuff. More importantly, the legislation prohibits an employer from refusing to provide employment to an applicant based on their candidate's citizenship, marital status, handicap, sexual orientation, or any other protected class under federal, state or local legislation.
After the supervisor asks questions on these topics, the candidate that is not hired may assert that the real reason he wasn't hired was a discriminatory motive on their company's role according to their asking this type of question and now having such info concerning the applicant.
Moving from hiring issues into the major problems that arises during an employee's employment, Matt learns that under most state laws, he as a supervisor can be personally liable as if he engages in or condones any discriminatory behavior.
What does personal liability mean? It implies that he's to pay out of his own pocket damages awarded against him for any harassment claims at work. In one case a supervisor was held personally liable for 1 million dollars. Management employees like Matt need to understand how not to engage in harassment and the way to guarantee his employees don't engage in this type of behavior either.
During the training class he also learns about other major issues that arise during an employee's employment. He learns that he can violate labor laws by terminating a worker out on protected FMLA leave or by failing to provide a handicapped worker with a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.
Cases like these are very common and it is the employer‘s responsibility to make sure that all management employees are well versed in currentl employment laws.
Any violations could pontentially cost the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and settlements.