Not enough money spent in HR teaching the rules

by Michael Haberman on April 12, 2017 · 0 comments


Managers need training that will prevent discrimination lawsuits.

I read a lot of articles and newsletters from law firms and the government looking for topics for this blog. They are not hard to find.  Here is a list from the EEOC:

  • ABL Management to Pay $35,000 to Settle Retaliation Lawsuit with EEOC
  • Desco Industries Will Pay $45,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit
  • Country Fresh to Pay $84,750 to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Suit
  • Zale Delaware Will Pay $30,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
  • Texas Roadhouse to Pay $12 Million to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination
  • Mine Rite Technologies Sued For Disability Harassment And Discrimination
  • Food Service Company to Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
  • Mister Car Wash / Mister Hot Shine Sued By EEOC For Race Discrimination
  • Mariscos Altata Sued by EEOC For Sexual And Age-Based Harassment and Retaliation
  • King-Lar Company Will Pay $325,000 To Settle EEOC Color and National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

In each of these cases the company has had to pay out large amounts of money PLUS train personnel, managers and HR, on what the proper procedures are and how to obey the law. There is generally a statement like this in the press release “The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary relief, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires [company] to train its supervisors, managers, and human resources representatives on sex discrimination.”

Spending on training

According to Josh Bersin, who is the Founder and Principal at Bersin by Deloitte, and premier researcher on all things HR, the amount of money spent on training in HR is up, or at least was in 2015. According to Bersin, what he called Level 4 companies, those that integrate HR into their business strategy and use HR to drive business decisions, were spending $4,434 per employee on training. Even the Level 1 companies, those with little effective HR, which he called the Compliance Driven HR services, were spending $2,112 per employee for training.

Based on the list above it looks to me like they are not spending that money on teaching managers and supervisors, or even HR, how to pay attention to the law. They are not teaching them compliance, and they are not teaching them ethics.

Where the rubber meets the road

To my way of thinking the daily interaction between manager and employee is where the rubber meets the road. It doesn’t do much good to teach a manager how to be an effective interviewer, or how to conduct a performance evaluation, if they then discriminate against the employee in some way. It does no good teaching them effective management techniques if they do not understand the basic laws and policies around employee rights under the FLSA, ADA or FMLA. A lawsuit, or consent agreements with the EEOC, is an expensive way to get that training.


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