Organizational charts are utilized for many purposes, one of which is it ensure the clear understanding of delegated responsibilities and to whom those responsibilities fall to within the company. President Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk that read “The Buck Stops Here”, telling America that at the day’s end, the responsibility is his. No finger pointing, no more delegating, just responsibility. The statement is in stark contrast to the well-used phrase “passing the buck”, or said differently, pointing the finger to someone else to take blame for a problem.
While we trust our employees tasked with particular responsibilities will complete them without the need for oversight, it would be naïve to think even the best of employees: (i) do not make mistakes; or (ii) may be unknowingly following an improper course of action. The process of spot-checking your employees and policies, from human resource, compliance or other supervisory position, can exponentially limit your company’s potential liabilities.
By way of example, your human resource department has many responsibilities, from conducting due diligence on new hires to ensuring employee conduct falls in line with the law and the company’s work environment policies. This group is undoubtedly pulled in many different directions.
When a complaint is filed by a former employee against the company, one of my first meetings is with the human resource manager. It is critical to understand the path of the former employee before and during employment with the company. It is just as important to understand the company’s policies regarding particular conduct of its employees and who is responsible for ensuring the proper implementation of the policies.
And here is where spot-checking comes into play to protect your company. Staying with the human resources example, someone should be taking the time on a regular basis to speak to various members of the department and ask them particular questions regarding the company’s policies. Someone should be tasked with ensuring those responsible for overseeing and implementing the company’s policies actually know the policies and the applicable law.
The last thing you want is to learn, after a complaint has been filed against your company, its policies are outdated or worse, on point but regularly ignored. While this responsibility may not be yours now pursuant to the company’s organization chart, it certainly will be once the litigation is a new file on your desk.
The Law Offices of Barry M. Bordetsky represents parties before state and federal courts as well as arbitration forums. If you have questions about an issue you are involved with, please contact Barry Bordetsky at (800) 998-7705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Nothing herein is a guarantee of results.