HR Concerns in the New Year

A new survey by XpertHR shows that sexual harassment, workplace violence, medical marijuana and potential changes to the Affordable Care Act are the top concerns for human resources (HR) professionals in 2018. The survey of more than 1,000 respondents found that big changes in the workplace, government and law are resulting in considerable issues for employers of all sizes.

A major cultural shift: The growing wave of individuals speaking out against sexual harassment in the workplace signifies that such behavior will no longer be tolerated—particularly when the harasser holds a position of power over the victim. For employers, failure to address this issue could mean facing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges, legal complaints, fines and penalties, as well as negative press. But it’s also an opportunity to review and implement better policies, provide training to employees, and clearly assert the serious consequences of this unacceptable behavior.

Preventing violence: The issue of workplace violence is also becoming more critical as mass shootings and bomb threats become more common. Random acts of violence are difficult to prevent, but preparing employees to respond to extreme situations can save lives in moments of chaos. Employers may also consider educating staff about domestic violence and providing support for employees dealing with that issue, which has been directly linked to mass shootings.

Addressing drug use: This has become challenging as states continue to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. Employers can still legally prohibit employees from possessing or using legal and illegal substances at work, but as federal, state and local regulations change, companies need to keep track of such changes and review their policies accordingly.

Healthcare policies: The possible dismantling of the Affordable Care Act means additional changes will likely be made to benefit policies this year—with 46 percent of respondents already reporting that ACA compliance is “very challenging.”

The survey also cites data security, workforce planning, pay equity and diversity as challenging matters for employers. With so many issues to consider, businesses should stay alert to changes in federal and state laws to maintain compliance—and provide their HR teams with resources to prepare for these new developments. iBi

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