SHRM’s HR Week dated Sept 15, 2008 illustrated the article about the above case. I was terribly surprised about it. I cannot believe what happened … nothing I could do about it except continue reading the whole article. A part of the Article is being quoted below;
“The charges filed by the Iowa Attorney General on Sept. 9, 2008, allege that the underage workers handled dangerous equipment, such as circular saws and meat grinders, and that they were exposed to noxious chemicals. According to the attorney general’s affidavit, the company records show instances of children under the age of 16 working before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. while school was in session.”
“The records of Agriprocessors Inc. also confirm, as alleged by each of the employee-victims, that each of these employees worked more hours of overtime each week than that for which they were compensated,” the complaint stated.”
Having been an HR Practitioner, one of the items that I always coach managers when they hire is the guidance under the Labor Laws. Orienting them with the regulations on limitations involving the employment of minors during Summer Time and or during Internships is very important. These are basic responsibilities of an HR Professional to enforce the rules under the Law. For any environment where manufacturing exist, Work Safety is number one requirement to be enforced. Employment eligibility is always very important.
Reading through the article, you will realize that there were some facts that were not provided. Making you as the reader to formulate your own hypothetical assumptions on how situations were managed.
The article however, provides a very strong lesson for any Human Resource Professional in the profession. It is time to be strategic, pro-active and learn more about other rules, regulations and laws that may apply in your work environment. If you don’t have time for it – at least hire an experienced HR Consultant who can assist you with the compliance and enforcement of these rules. Act as an HR Business Partner to your colleagues in the operations departments and other business units. Negotiate your value as their HR Business Partner. Your extra efforts will save your company’s investments and avoid costly mistakes like the above.
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