Friday, July 10, 2009

Back to Basics: Read Your Personnel Manual

If you’re having issues at work, you really have to get in the habit of looking through the personnel manual. Yes, it’s boring reading. But, you never know what information is in there that can be critical to defending yourself against a coworker, supervisor or the company, as a whole. There is nothing worse, from an employer’s perspective, than to have an employee quote from the personnel manual in explaining that someone or the company is violating written policies and practices.

If you are contacting HR, you can use quotes from the personnel manual to support your position or explain how someone is violating corporate guidelines, standards of conduct, etc. If you are going through and internal investigation, you will have an understanding of the guidelines, timing, determination, appeal, etc. of the internal complaint process.

If HR is aware that you have an understanding of this procedure, it makes them work harder and it makes violations of their own procedures that much harder to execute. HR will know that you are watching them, may be comparing their actions to the corporate guidelines, and that it is likely you are documenting everything!

Anytime you quote from the personnel manual, it lets HR know you’re familiar with the policies and procedures of the company. It tells them you have some idea of how things should be handled, the policies that dictate their actions/response to a situation, etc.

This also lets your company know how serious you are about your issue. This awareness should encourage your employers to follow their own written procedures. However, if they deviate from the procedures, they are simply providing you with documentation that is evidence of a potentially deliberate attempt to violate your employee rights and to ignore your complaint. Know your rights and hold your employer’s feet to the fire, when it comes to adhering to their own written policies and procedures.

Read the personnel manual and look for anything germane to your circumstances. Make copies of that section for your records or to show any additions or revisions that might be made associated with your complaint.


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