Wednesday, May 7, 2008

If your company has tightened its purse strings. . .

don't trip on them.

It's been a while since we've made a blog entry. Yes, that does mean that business is good. Generally, though, that means that our clients are facing some very challenging times. Inevitably, when economics go south, our workload goes north.

The workload during these tight times is not only heavier, but it's composition is noticeably different. Many of us on the L&E team spend time acting as "counselors-at-law"; that is, we're outside in-house counsel for our clients. We aren't necessarily getting calls because a charge of discrimination has been filed or suit papers served. Rather, our clients have everyday human resource questions and need an outsider's take and opinion on the matter.

Such is not necessarily the case in times like these. The phone calls are not as numerous. The e-mail notification window doesn't pop as frequently. But we're certainly not out enjoying quiet time. We're busily working on charges of discrimination and employment-based lawsuits that face our clients. Down economic times mean employees who are more sensitive to potential changes in the work environment.

As companies look for line items on the budget to reduce, the financial eyes inevitably hone in on training. Yet these are the times when that training--be it anti-harassment/-discrimination, leadership, managing borderline employees, and the like--is most vital. Now is the time to educate your supervisors and managers on employment laws, remind them of their responsibilities under your policies, and encourage them to consider the potentially magnified impact of their words and actions with their employees.

That's not to say that you and your supervisors stop disciplining, counseling, and enforcing your policies. But you do have more external factors that come into play when addressing those situations that at any other time would seem relatively routine.

Here's to a return to normalcy. And a vacation.

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