Rantings and tirades of a frustrated economist.
Yeah, I'm old enough to remember when HR was called the "Personnel Department". At that time, they basically explained the benefits plan when you were hired and then you didn't deal with them anymore. There were no sexual harassment or ethics classes to take. They'd rarely make a department-wide presentation to explain the very infrequent changes to the benefits package.Sometime around the mid-1980's that began to change. The required classes came out and the departments began to grow. Benefit plans, especially health insurance, had significant changes every year. Whereas the Personnel Dept. for a mid-sized company only needed one woman, the Human Resources Dept. required many, many more to handle all the paper pushing.
Ah, but without HR where would you put the women and minorities that are foisted on corporations by EEOC rules?
HR: a position created for women by women.
Well, I don't qualify it is non-public, exactly, simply because so much of their function is the direct result of various legal/regulatory/etc. obligations that the various levels of governments and their agencies have imposed on organizations of almost any size.In other words, it's a publicly created unfunded mandate for a private sector make-work project.
You can't get rid of HR because modern companies need HR.No, seriously: the purpose of the HR department is to protect "the company" (i.e. senior management) from lawsuits by its own employees.The real culprit here is the various forms of sexual harassment law, which were never necessary in the first place (even the old slap 'n' tickle and quid-pro-quo forms of sexual harassment were already illegal: sexual assault and extortion, respectively). "Hostile environment" sexual harassment laws require every company to rigidly police every thought, word and deed by their employees, lest they be sued by people "offended by proxy".
Well, it is not entirely HR's fault here.There is probably a "zero tolerance" policy in the company about this kind of thing.OK, I agree, HR is not just a conduit of this type of stupidity, it is an amplifier, but they would not have a leg to stand on if there was no policy about "offensive" language. Oh, and I bet there is no definition of what exactly constitutes offensive either.I would bet a week's salary that the reason these women complained "on the bereaved behalf" has more to do with sticking it to the socially inept man, then protecting the bereaved.A zero tolerance policy is nothing more then a substitute for thinking.
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