6 Reasons HR Professionals Need Legal Training

by Employers Council Staff

Employment Law Advice and Representation,  Hot Topics,  Training and Development

Taylor Secemski,  an Employers Council staff attorney in the Arizona regional office, has a  passion for education, teaching and training. Taylor will be presenting the Arizona breakout session of the upcoming virtual conference “Employment Law Update Presents: Your State and Federal Legal Landscape” on November 1.

After graduating from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and practicing  in a small labor and employment law firm representing unions, Taylor came to Employers Council in February 2021. The opportunity to help train members on legal issues was a big draw for her, especially when it comes to the heavily regulated and gray areas of employment law.

“I was excited to learn that training was such a big component,” Taylor said. “I’ve taught just about every legal course we have. I really enjoy getting to work with our members on not only updates but day-to-day situations that are tough.”

Taylor believes that HR professionals and their organizations can benefit from regular legal training for many reasons. Here are six of the most important:

1. Employment law touches almost every aspect of work life.

“Employment law dictates a lot of what employers can and can’t do and say in the workplace,” Taylor said. Employment law regulates the entire cycle of employer-employee relations, from job postings at the very outset of an employee-employer relationship to many aspects of how former employees and employers interact after their relationship has ended. It is hard to imagine any aspect of work life that isn’t impacted by federal, state and local employment laws.

“It’s really important that those in HR, managers and supervisors are getting up to speed on the law as it is — and also how it changes,” she said. Which brings us to…

2. Employment law changes quickly.

Staying in compliance can be a swiftly moving target. Norms and expectations for work life are rapidly evolving, and employment and labor law is keeping pace. It can be difficult to stay on top of new laws and modifications, especially when tracking updates in multiple jurisdictions.

“The pandemic is a really great example of that [fast pace],” Taylor said. “Employers had to be on their toes on a day-to-day basis. Much of that legal compliance burden falls on HR.”

3. Employment law is notoriously hard to interpret.

“The laws can be really challenging to interpret,” Taylor said. “Training on these topics will give you a deep dive on what you need to know and the practical skills on how to apply that in your workplace.”

The difficulty comes not only in comprehending the legalese, but understanding how and when the laws apply to your own organization. Educators steeped in the intricacies of the law, like Employers Council’s Legal Services Team, can help make sense of even the thorniest regulations.

4. Common HR tasks, like managing leave, can be complicated  to navigate

Many HR departments spend significant time navigating leave law issues with their employees. ADA, FMLA, sick leave — having a firm grasp of the laws governing medical leave can help streamline HR professionals daily work.

“They are complicated issues that are ongoing,” Taylor said. “You have to assess which law applies at which time. That’s what makes leave hard.” Employers Council has a full slate of popular leave law training courses available, including how to manage ADA issues and FMLA requests,

5. Avoiding legal complications in the workplace takes constant vigilance.

Taylor recommends Employers Council members make regular training on harassment and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) law a priority.

“In the current environment we live in, it’s a big issue in the workplace,” Taylor said. “Title 7 is not going to change, but the way it is interpreted and what the courts and the EEOC are focusing on does change.”

For example, the November 1 ELU Presents webinar will be covering the impact of this year’s #MeToo Bill, which outlaws forced arbitration for sexual harrassment or assualt claims, in the federal overview section.

6. Employers need to stay prepared for what’s ahead…but it’s hard to predict what’s coming.

Finally, thoughtful legal training will teach not only what we do know but what we don’t know yet. Because employment law transforms so quickly, good legal training can give you the context you need to know what’s just over the horizon.

“It’s a way to stay on top of what’s to come,” Taylor said. “We’re keeping eyes and ears out. We’re making sure participants are getting the most up-to-date information that is out there.”

To that end, “Employment Law Update Presents: Your State and Federal Legal Landscape” is a key piece of Employers Council’s legal training portfolio.

“I think that ELU is important for all of our members to attend because it’s going to cover the most important updates both federally and in the states that are applicable to them,” Taylor said. “ELU is going to cover such a broad scale, from case law with new interpretations to bills that have passed to EEO updates. It’s going to address what we think is most important for employers to know over the past year.”

ELU Presents: Your State and Federal Legal Landscape” will be held online on November 1, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. MDT. The session will cover both national legal developments and breakout state sessions for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and (held together) Idaho, New Mexico and Wyoming. Attendees will also receive in-depth whitepapers on each of the presentations. Remember to select your state session when registering below. (Attendees can access additional state presentations to watch afterward, as well.)


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Employers Council Staff