Comstock's magazine 1118 - November 2018 - Page 27

Have a burning HR question? Email it to: up the food chain than you are, so you’re taking a risk in pushing back — but it is ab- solutely your job to do so. HR’s job is to protect the business, al- ways. And standing up to the director pro- tects the business for two huge reasons. THE LAW Every organization needs a social media policy, and what that is depends on busi- ness needs and your location. But that policy needs to comply with all laws; in California, that means you can’t prohibit people from discussing political views or prevent discussion of otherwise legal ac- tivities, nor can you do anything that stops people from talking about their own work- ing conditions. If the employee in question had added a comment to her LinkedIn share that said, “Dealing with my boss makes me under- stand why this is true,” and she had at least one coworker as a connection on LinkedIn, then it could be considered protected con- certed activity. That’s a fancy way of say- ing: She’s talking about her working condi- tions, and that’s protected by law. Even though the employee didn’t make a comment, you could easily argue that merely sharing the article is discussing working conditions. So, you’re putting the business at risk for punishing an employee for sharing this article. THE PEOPLE The human resources department is sup- posed to provide expertise about people, just like the marketing department should be the expert on marketing. You’re respon- sible for recruiting, developing and retain- ing good employees. Assuming this was a good employee, writing her up just pushes her toward the door. Even if she was a terrible employee and everyone would cheer if she quit, the other employees may know what happened in this situation, and now know the director is a horrible manager. If you allow this write- up, they’ll understand that HR doesn’t have their backs either. Because this tip-off came via an anon- ymous employee, you know there’s a bul- You need to explain to the director why you won’t write up the employee. When the director pushes back, you’ll have to stand up and state your case. If necessary, take this up the ladder. lying problem, as well. If this unnamed employee is concerned this article might give people the wrong impression about the company, this person would have gone to the poster directly and said, “You know that the director will think this is about him and he’ll be furious! You might want to take it down before he sees it.” But the coworker didn’t, and instead set out to un- dermine and destroy a colleague. That’s textbook bullying. If there is to be punishment, it’s for the anonymous tattle-tale. Do an investigation and figure out who it is. I bet that it won’t take more than 15 minutes to figure out who sent this. What should the punish- ment be? Well, that depends on whether this is one-time trouble-stirring or part of an ongoing pattern. So, now you know that your director is a crappy manager and that you have a bully who stalks others' social media accounts. Next, you need to explain to the direc- tor why you won’t write up the employee. When the director pushes back, you’ll have to stand up and state your case. If neces- sary, take this up the ladder. If, ultimately, the senior team decides to ignore your pleas and punish the employee, that’s their right — HR is never the boss. But in that case, you’ve learned something as well: This company doesn’t value employees. As you’re also an employee, it’s time to spruce up your resume and look for a company that respects their employees. But, I don’t recommend publicly saying you’re looking for a new job on LinkedIn: Your company has spies, and that won’t go over well. n Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corpo- rate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers and double- checked with the lawyers. On Twitter @RealEvilHRLady. November 2018 | 27