Comstock's magazine 0618 - June 2018 - Page 28

n EVIL HR LADY DILEMMA OF THE MONTH Bias in Human Resources by Suzanne Lucas ILLUSTRATION: JOHN CHASE I am the chief financial officer for a 90-plus person firm and the head of human resources reports to me. Several employees have told me they feel uncomfortable going to the HR manager with complaints or concerns, because she's really good friends with some of the people here and they’re afraid she'll be biased. She does a good job otherwise, so I was thinking about outsourcing our employee relations arm. What do you think? A 28 | June 2018 I THINK YOU HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM ON YOUR HANDS. When people make the effort to come to you to say they are afraid the human resources manager will be biased, what they are actually saying is: She has shown bias previously and please do something about it. People don’t bother to approach the HR manager’s boss if they think that sometime in the future she might treat employees unfairly. They come when she has treated people unfairly. Your em- ployees don’t want to seem whiny or like victims, so they haven’t come out and said exactly what has gone down — but something has. And you need to find out what happened. It may be that the head of HR is fabu- lous at most of her job and is just a hor- rible employee relations person, so out- sourcing that part would be sufficient. But, more likely, she’s horrible at most of her job if she shows bias. Now, to be clear, being generally biased isn’t illegal unless it’s based on a protected class (race, gender, etc). If