Mitigating Legal Risk with HR Case Management


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In this webinar, labor and employment attorney Clay Hartmann will offer his expert advice on how to ensure a consistent approach to handling and documenting grievances that will help you prevent and prepare for employment-related lawsuits. Join us to learn:
• How to use technology to ensure a consistent approach to handling and documenting grievances
• What common ER practices lead to mishandling of employee grievances
• How to use HR Case Management to identify and improve weak business processes
This must-attend webinar will help ensure that your ER department has a solid process in place for handling grievances and can easily provide documentation of an employee’s interactions with ER should your organization be faced with a lawsuit.

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  • We offer web-based support software for both employees and customers. Our HR product enables you to track, manage and report on employee interactions, such as grievances, with Human Resources.As you can see from our customer snapshot, we have B2B and B2C customers from various industries using Dovetail for their employee and/or customer support needs. So, now I’ll go ahead and introduce our speakers and hand it over to Clay to discuss steps that Employee Relations can take to mitigate legal risk for their organizations.
  • Clay has specialized in labor and employment law for the last 16 years.  His practice involves both the prosecution and defense of federal and state employment discrimination claims, and wrongful discharge claims. He regularly counsels corporations on general employment matters; strategic employment decisions; and employment investigations.Russ Resslhuber, Director of Product Management here at Dovetail, has been involved in software product management, sales engineering and support software for more than 20 years.  In that time, he has nourished a particular interest in knowledge management, process automation and the adaptive organization. So, now I’ll go ahead and hand it over to Clay to begin our presentation
  • Thanks so much for joining us today. I’m so glad you did because it’s the first step in protecting your organization from costly legal fees and a possible expensive settlement or trialAccording to the EEOC, the number of employment-related claims filed in 2011 was 99,947. Retaliation discrimination claims were filed most frequently and those claims almost always involve the ER department.6 of 10 employers have faced an employee lawsuit in the last 5 years. So even if you do have good policies and procedures in place, there’s a 60% chance an employment-related lawsuit could be filed against your organization.The median payout to the plaintiff in 2010 for an employment-related lawsuit was $218,000.The average cost of defense cost for an employment lawsuit through a trial is $45,000.So if just 1 lawsuit is filed against you and you do not have compelling evidence to dispute claim it could end up costing your organization $263,000 for that one claim.What ER departments can do to help protect their organizations is make sure that filing a complaint is easy and accessible for employees and that there is a process in place for handling these sensitive issues appropriately and every step and interaction is clearly documented. I’ve seen a lot of cases dropped and dismissed because organizations had documentation to refute the plaintiffs claims.
  • For those of you that have never been involved in employment-related civil case, I wanted to share with you the typical process….
  • The biggest mistake ER departments makes is not being consistent. Different employees having different rules. A lot of times this is not intentional, it’s just that different advisors handle things differently or one branch of your organization abides by different rules than the larger organization. While of course there are extenuating circumstances in every situation, not having a process in place that is followed when handling complaints is definitely very risky. You want to be as consistent as possible when disciplining employees and/or handling sensitive issues. Being able to prove how you handled a complaint and showing that it was dealt with in the same way that it was in a past situation through documentation will minimize your exposure to legal risk. Example of inconsistency in ER that hurt the organization in the lawsuit…
  • Although every organization’s will look different, if you don’t already have a documented process in place for handing grievances, you should consider creating one.Start by creating a simple process and then if you discover the need for more steps or variations, you can add to it. You want to create a process that is easy to follow and has very clear cut steps.The chart above is handling employee complaints and issues. And as we’ve heard from our customers and prospects, the reason they look to implement a solution like Dovetail is because even when they have a process like this in place, they really had no way to easily tell if it was actually being used and how effective it was. Furthermore, they did not have a centralized repository where they could go back and look at an employee’s interactions with HR is chronological order. So as Clay mentioned, building a process for handling grievances is an important part of ensuring consistency in your ER department and decreasing your exposure to potentially very costly lawsuits.Equally important to building a process is ensuring that all advisors are following it and that’s it’s well documented. That’s where technology comes in and I’ll demonstrate that for you now…
  • Communication: Facilitate the conversation to avoid litigation in the first place, support every channelDocumentation: Audit trail tracks every event, everything that is said or done in the context of the case, ensures accountabilityAutomation: As much as possible, but not more – avoid mistakes [adaptive case management, flexible] Notification: Deliver actionable information in a timely fashion to all potentially interested stakeholders Embed defined policies/procedures/processes: Ensure they are followed, without requiring team members to remember every detail Integration: Where other applications come into playAnalytics: Confirm policies/processes are being followed, identify problems, confirm objectives are being met, enable Continuous Improvement
  • Mitigating Legal Risk with HR Case Management

    1. 1. Mitigating Legal Risk with HR CaseManagementJanuary 12, 2012
    2. 2. Who is Dovetail? Dovetail is a leader in employee and customer support software enabling organizations to:  reduce administrative costs,  increase productivity,  and improve service delivery.Customer Snapshot: 17 February 2012 © 2012 Dovetail Software 2
    3. 3. Speaker Introduction Clay Hartmann Russ Resslhuber Attorney & Consultant Director of Product Management The Hartmann Firm Dovetail Software17 February 2012 ©2012 Dovetail Software 3
    4. 4. Cost of being unprepared # of claims filed in 2011: 99,947 Employers that have faced a lawsuit in the past 5 years: 6 out of 10 Average Defense Cost: $45,000 Median Pay Out: $218,000 Potential Cost of 1 claim: $263,000 Sources: 2010 & 2011 EEOC Reports. Seventh Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report, Seyfarth Shaw LLP; Department of Labor. 2011 SHRM Employment Law Update March 1, 2011. www.shrm.org17 February 2012 ©2012 Dovetail Software 4
    5. 5. Legal Process Trial $$$$$ Summary Judgment $$$$Employee Counsel is Company is Discovery files a obtained summoned & Pre-trialcomplaint or notified Settlement $$$ Complaint $ withdrawn Evidence is collected ER Department contacted 17 February 2012 ©2012 Dovetail Software 5
    6. 6. #1 Mistake ER MakesInconsistency:  Different employees experience different rules  No record of how issues were resolved/handled in the past  Decentralized ER organizations handle issues differently  ER advisors use different processes/policies to handle issues17 February 2012 ©2012 Dovetail Software 6
    7. 7. Building your Grievance Process Example: Employee has an Employee discusses Yes Issue resolved Issue issue issue with parties informally, no further Resolved? involved action required No Employee contacts HR/ER reviews and Yes Grievance HR/ER, Stage 1 of Grievance addresses grievance resolved, no further Process begins Resolved? within m days action required No Employee GP board or director appeals, Stage 2 of reviews appeal and Grievance closed Process begins rules within n days17 February 2012 ©2012 Dovetail Software 7
    8. 8. Grievance Case Management Communication Documentation Automation  Notification  Policy/Procedure/Process Implementation  Integration Analytics/Process Validation17 February 2012 ©2012 Dovetail Software
    9. 9. Questions?17 February 2012 ©2012 Dovetail Software
    10. 10. Next Steps Visit our Resource Center: Next Webinar: 10 Ways to Nurture your New Hires  Topic: Onboarding Best Practices  Date: February 16, 12pm CT  Guest Speaker: Morgan Hoogvelt Dovetail Contact Information:  Website:  Twitter: @dovetail  Blog:  Phone: (800)684-2055  Email: info@dovetailsoftware.com17 February 2012 ©2012 Dovetail Software 10