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5 Workplace Nightmares and How To Avoid Them

Posted by Alexa Rivera on Oct 12, 2021 9:51:00 AM
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If you know anything about Human Resources, you know there are countless responsibilities for HR leaders to keep track of. Some are beautiful, some are daunting, and some are downright terrifying. At PeopleGuru, we don't take lightly how vital the role of an HR professional is and because it's such a crucial role, there are some sticky situations you want to steer clear of (and at all costs). That's why we've assembled five workplace nightmares to avoid just in time for the spooky season.


1. Hellish Pay Problems
It can be quite the task of completing payroll, especially without a support system. In addition, managing labor laws can get incredibly tedious. Missing overtime pay rates, failing to keep track of required breaks, or misclassifying an employee are just a few of the petrifying things that can go wrong here.

It is important to ensure you are crossing your t'sand dotting those i's regarding time and labor laws. The FLSA can become quite the grim reaper all due to a simple slip-up! If you find yourself doing it all yourself, consider whether an HCM software system might be beneficial.

2. Killer Termination Rules
Sometimes you may think termination is just, and it very well could be; but still, there are many laws put in place that can make proper grounds for termination a slippery slope. A tried and true nightmare would be ending up with a lawsuit on your hands. Remember to stay in the know and be wary before considering termination.


So what can’t you fire for?
Let's start with the concrete—illegal terminations. You cannot fire on discriminatory grounds, including race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or age. There are also strict laws on firing employees for mental and physical challenges who are otherwise entirely qualified. Seems self-explanatory but always a good reminder.


There are also several unethical terminations that, while aren't illegal, can still hold several scary risks. For example, while you have the right to fire employees who do not perform up to standard, you must prove poor performance and show that you have attempted to work with the employee. In other words, keeping records is a wise decision.


A final note on firing employees: do everything to ensure you’ve followed procedures put in place by the company and that the employee in question fully understands the violated policies.


3. Toxic and Hazardous Work Environments
Shivers down the spine just thinking about that toxic work environment we’ve all likely experienced. Nobody wants to be negged out or, worse, experience a case of workplace bullying! Looking for workers who wreak havoc, tear people down, micromanage, affect others' efficiency and confidence, and gossip in ways that divide will completely change your work environment. It’s ultimately about weeding out the bad apples and ensuring the workplace runs as smoothly as possible.


Address the Negative Nancy's, and you bring back the peace and, ultimately, the productivity too!


4. Not Preparing for the Chilling Harassment and Discrimination Scenarios
Discrimination and harassment are usually accompanied by tension, anxiety, and general discomfort for all parties involved. It can be difficult to be on the resolution team for a complaint, but keeping a few ground rules in place can make it a beneficial experience. For starters, be open-minded and understanding. Things are not always as they seem, so it is crucial to take these matters seriously, no matter how fake or trivial they seem. You should also document the complaint immediately and interview those involved. Try to notice any holes in the stories or differences in what each party considers to be fact. And if necessary, hire an expert or contact the authorities. Of course, some situations are far bigger than a single HR manager, and that's okay!

5. Alarming COVID Crises
Unfortunately, we are far from over the pandemic and all of its accompanying issues. As time passes, the virus continues to be an issue for society and businesses alike. The first of workplace, COVID-19 related, lawsuits are beginning to emerge, and vaccine mandates are following close suit. For more information on how the mandate is affecting business, read here.

Final Word
That's all we have for chilling HR nightmares this time—and in our opinion, five is more than enough! And if you’re feeling particularly unnerved, don’t be! With extra thought and TLC, these situations are easy to navigate and even easier to avoid.


Interested in real HR Horror tales?

Follow our socials for our HR Horror Story Series through all of October!

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This blog post was written by Alexa Rivera and may not be copied or published without PeopleGuru's express written permission. 

Topics: Leadership, Employee Law, Time and Labor, Workforce Management, HR, Culture

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