I’m a management-side employment law attorney. I get to work with human resources. In fact, I am an HR professional. So, why on God’s green Earth would I, as an attorney, help an employee?
HR has been taking a huge hit lately. The #MeToo movement and the countless stories of rampant sexual harassment are now (thankfully) part of the national conversation. The reoccurring theme has been “Where was HR?” or “Why didn’t HR do something?” While that criticism in some circumstances may be fair, HR is a bit like the CIA. We only hear about the bad things HR does (or doesn’t do), and we rarely hear about all the good HR pros out there who have steeled themselves and done what is right. I’m lucky to know many of them.
When an HR pro doesn’t do the right thing – especially when they are given the chance repeatedly – there comes a time when the friendly neighborhood employment attorney has to challenge that particular HR department. I do this because we need good HR. When bad HR hurts one of us, it hurts all of us. So, it is up to us to take us on, to speak up and help those employees who have done everything in their power, given their employers every opportunity to do the right thing and yet have had the door to HR (and management) closed to them.
I’m lucky to currently represent an employee. You can hear her story here. It may be a fair criticism that as a management-side attorney, I shouldn’t represent her. To me, I should. Because if I’m going to help HR do better, sometimes that means I have to take us on when we’ve done wrong.