Employment Laws: Rules of the Road

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When we learn to drive, we are giving the driver’s manual for our state. In the state of Tennessee, the driver’s manual is 132 pages long. It prepares us to learn how to drive by teaching us about our vehicle, the symbols used to convey messages as we drive, how to drive at night, and our responsibility as a driver.

It states that the rules of the road are those laws, regulations, and practices that provide safe vehicle movement on the roadways. For most of us, getting our driver’s license is a rite of passage. It shows that you could handle responsibility.

The same could be said for when you become a manager. The company, the business, the organization believes you can handle more responsibilities. However, in most cases, managers are promoted without learning the rules of the road for businesses. Employment Law.

Employment laws govern the relationship between employer and employee. They provide protection for both employer and employee. They describe the responsibilities and rights of both parties.

Yet, managers are unaware of how employment laws impact their decision-making from hiring, leave requests, performance management, and termination. Are you manager’s aware of what questions they can ask and cannot ask in an interview? Does your manager know their responsibilities when it comes to harassment complaints? Do they know they can be held liable for their actions or lack of actions?

In one of my classes, I ask Business Owners, Executives, General Managers, and Human Resource Professionals this question, “Does your manager know how to recognize an accommodation request under the ADA?” The most common answer is, “No.”

Whether we agree or not with them, employment laws are the rules of the road when it comes to managing our employees. To be clear readers, there are federal employment laws overseen by the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, OSHA, IRS, and the NLBA, etc. There are also state and local employment laws that we must follow.

We would never allow our child to drive without a basic understanding of the rules of the road. I wonder why we let our managers manage without knowing the basic employment laws.

As part of the True Star Leadership Management Program, I teach how to get the best performance from your team and teach managers the rules of the road to protect your organization and reduce your risk. Email me at quesitons@johnthalheimer.com to learn more.

Business Advisor

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