Date: September 17, 2021

At the 2021 conference for the Society for Human Resource Management, TELG principal R. Scott Oswald gave a presentation on how HR professionals can be at risk of individual liability when there's wrongdoing in the workplace. Scott explained to the audience that jurors typically believe that HR has a responsibility to act when presented with possible wrongdoing.

"Perhaps more than anyone, [HR professionals] own the company's playbook for handling situations with its employees."

R. Scott Oswald


3 Compliance Tips for HR Professionals

After a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference returned this month, both in Las Vegas and online. With it came several sessions that have proved themselves perennial favorites.

Among those were presentations on documentation and individual liability for HR professionals, as well as one predicting priorities for the U.S. Supreme Court. Below are three compliance tips from those sessions.


2. Take seriously the obligation to act.

Courts and jurors generally believe that HR must act when presented with evidence of wrongdoing in the workplace, R. Scott Oswald, managing principal at The Employment Law Group, told attendees in 2019. In Failure to speak up could land HR pros in hot water, HR Dive outlined Oswald’s recommendations for those at risk of individual liability at work.

This year, he elaborated, explaining HR’s role in such situations. To avoid the courtroom, remember, “you are the face that a company shows to its employees,” he said.

“Perhaps more than anyone, you own the company’s playbook for handling situations with its employees. You are the system keeper,” Oswald continued, adding that HR’s reaction to situations should be quick, effective and by the book.

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