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Using Your Human Resources Department

Many of us work for a company that has a human resources department. Often, however, we have limited contact with them. We see them when we are hired and fill out our paperwork. We deal with them whenever we change our benefits, when we submit our annual reviews, and for our end-of-year tax statements. Some of us go through HR for payroll and vacation requests. And generally, leaving the company involves one last meeting. However, human resources can often provide an employee with much more.

A human resources department exists to protect a company. But a good human resources department does so by also protecting the interests of its employees with the knowledge that the success of a company ultimately relies on its ability to attract and keep good employees. Therefore, many human resources representatives are trained to handle employee relations issues. For instance, when there is an interpersonal dispute between employees or their managers, due to miscommunication or personality conflict, human resources representatives can serve to fairly mediate and resolve even mild conflicts.

Human resources departments can also promote a happy work environment through the arranging of social functions, organizing group charity work, assisting with education and training, even arranging discounts for employees at nearby stores and restaurants. Additionally, often employees are unaware that many human resources departments can assist an employee during a difficult life transition. Employees facing the illness or death of a family member can seek a leave of absence, as well as referrals to assisted living organizations or mental health professionals. In the event of a happy occasion such as a new child, contact your HR. Not only will they help you add your new family member to your medical benefits, but they can advise you of maternity and family leave benefits, any health savings plans for child care, even possibly referrals to child care organizations.

Another important function of human resources is to create policies which allow for employees to work in a safe and fair work environment. Additionally, they can serve as an employee’s representative in recording and addressing violations of company and government policies, such as sexual harassment, inequality in hiring and promoting, to unsafe working conditions. Human resources departments can also provide tools for a comfortable working environment, such as ergonomic keyboards, screens and chairs. You should also contact HR if you experience pain or injury on the job, as they will arrange for any leave and benefits such as short-term or long-term disability, and/or worker’s compensation

As previously stated, a good human resources department protects its company by protecting its employees. But that is not to say that on occasion HR departments do not neglect to protect its employees even when the corporation is clearly negligent. Therefore, an employee should remember to first protect his or her own interests. All contact with managers and human resources should be recorded, as well as all paperwork copied and retained for your records. If you believe your issues are not being fairly addressed, consider seeking outside assistance. Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if you feel your company is violating federal employment discrimination laws. Contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if your company is in violation of safety regulations. If you need assistance due to an injury on the job, contact a Chicago workers compensation lawyer who will work to protect your interests.

About the Author: Brooke Haley marketing associate at Millon & Peskin, Chicago workers compensation attorney that practice in the areas of Civil Litigation, Workers’ Compensation, and Personal Injury. Millon & Peskin is a General Civil Litigation Practice with the goal of representing the interests of injured workers, throughout all applicable Courts within the State of Illinois. For more information, please visit http://www.millonpeskin.com.

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