Executive Director's Desk - April 13, 2017

Social Media, Insubordination and Other Popular, but Supremely Tricky Areas for Public Employers 
This eclectic list is the subject of MLA's Managing HR Webinar Series: Your Rights & Their Rights part two scheduled for May 10, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. MLA takes professional development seriously. It's part of our mission to help libraries and library professionals succeed. You told us time, travel and expense were often an obstacle to effective staff development. So, recently we added webinars to the educational mix to make the process easier and more affordable. Our latest series addresses human resources issues in the library. HR attorney Lizzie Mills from law firm Fahey, Schultz, Burzych & Rhodes provided the basics in our intro to HR webinar held last week.  

Management and legal issues can arise in the library that could jeopardize your ability to serve your patrons. Lizzie explained that effective personnel administration is critical regardless of the type of library or number of employees. The board and management have legal responsibilities when it comes to how they treat staff. In addition, the method of personnel administration directly implicates and affects the legal rights of those employees.  
Then there's the jargon; just cause, collective bargaining, at will, discrimination, whistle blowers. What does it all mean and how does it impact library employees? According to Lizzie, "You must consider the possibility of an employee claim under one or more state or federal statutes when developing policies, training supervisors and managers, or considering any action that may affect an employee's status with your library." So, in other words, all this jargon is important to avoiding legal issues for both the library and employee.
Additional questions to consider if faced with a discipline issue include: Has it been handled fairly? Has the employee been given proper notice? Was there a thorough investigation? Have you ensured equal treatment and applied appropriate discipline if warranted?
The key to fair and effective HR management is to develop sound policies and adhere to those policies. Practice consistency, documentation and ensure your staff is well trained, especially direct supervisors. Your employees are the library's most important resource. Treat them well and fairly by having policies in place and keeping everyone up to date on policies and practices. 

On May 10 join us for part two of the Managing HR Webinar Series: Your Rights & Their Rights.

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