Now more than ever small businesses need to take action to manage their most valuable asset (and sometimes greatest liability) – their employees, also known as human resources. Recent media reports have publicized how quickly things can go wrong:
Sexual harassment complaints appear in the news media daily. Almost 40 years after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – men (and women) are still behaving in unprofessional, and illegal, ways in the workplace. As a small business owner, you need to know how to protect yourself, your employees and your business from allegations of sexual harassment and what to do when a complaint is made. An HR professional can help you write policies and procedures, provide training and conduct investigations. (Note: anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies should also include many other protected characteristics in today’s business climate.)
Acts of violence in the workplace are also reported on almost a daily basis, sometimes resulting in fatal injuries. All employers, regardless of company size, are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide a safe work environment and that includes taking reasonable measures to prevent workplace violence. In October, three employees at Advanced Granite Solutions in Maryland were killed by a co-worker with a history of workplace violence; media reports claim the company had not run a background check before hiring him. Conducting background checks during the hiring process is one way to screen out applicants with a history of violent behavior. An HR professional can help you conduct background checks that comply with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), federal legislation which governs consumer reporting agencies.
An HR professional can help you with all of your human resources needs, from hiring the right employees, running background checks, creating employee handbooks that include anti-harassment policies and procedures, managing employee performance, staying legally compliant, automating employee records, and anything else you need to create an environment where employees can provide the services that you need to run your business.