By Pam Howland
While employers are quick to train their office managers and human resource personnel on key employment law concepts, they frequently overlook the importance of training those on the front line—their supervisors—on employment law basics. This mistake can expose your business to liability and can hamstring your ability to terminate poor performers. Consider five other reasons to train your supervisors in the new year.
1. Supervisors need to know enough to flag problems.
Chances are, your human resource professionals know the law and the protocols your business has in place so they can ensure they are followed. Your supervisors, however, may not. If they don’t, they may not have the knowledge they need to alert your in‑house human resource experts. For example, imagine an employee with a recently‑diagnosed medical problem—potentially a disability—struggling to perform the essential functions of their job. If this employee requests assistance from their supervisor, the supervisor may not know enough to identify this request as a potential ADA accommodation and may not flag your human resource professionals. This could expose your business to an ADA claim if the request is improperly handled. Simple training on the ADA could avoid such a scenario.
2. Training can be a defense in a harassment case.
The United States Supreme Court feels so strongly about supervisor training that it has ruled that an employer may assert certain defenses in harassment cases if it takes the time to train its supervisors on the law. Supervisor training ensures your business could take advantage of this defense, if the need ever arises.