Human Resources Issues in Local Government: Yesterday's Headlines Remain Today's "Hot Topics"

By McDowell, Amy M.; Leavitt, William M. | Public Personnel Management, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Human Resources Issues in Local Government: Yesterday's Headlines Remain Today's "Hot Topics"


McDowell, Amy M., Leavitt, William M., Public Personnel Management


Introduction

An analysis of "hot topics" in human resources must necessarily begin by identifying which issues are "hot." The authors of this article suggest that one of the most informative methods to identify the human resources issues that occupy an organization's time and efforts is to ask the experts directly. In many local governments, there are at least three groups or organizational units that share responsibility for human resources functions: managers and supervisors, human resources professionals, and attorneys. The first group, managers and supervisors, are the key players responsible for carrying out human resources responsibilities on a daily basis, such as performance appraisal and discipline. Human resources professionals, typically housed within a centralized human resources department, have formal authority to conduct and oversee many human resources functions, such as employee testing, job audits and compensation programs. The third group, attorneys, have a wide range of responsibilities to ensure that human resources policies and decisions pass legal muster. To successfully tackle human resources issues, these three categories of individuals must work together as a team, each contributing their own personal expertise to address complex, rapidly changing concerns in the workplace.

This article specifically addresses some of the legal concerns and issues, i.e., the "hot topics," that constitute the primary workload of attorneys that practice local government employment law. The typical duties of these attorneys are wide-ranging in nature. A sampling of responsibilities for such an attorney often includes the following types of activities:

* Presenting the employer's case in a grievance panel hearing for an employee who is appealing disciplinary action taken in accordance with the employer's workplace policies;

* Reviewing standards for criminal background checks for applicants for public employment;

* Drafting the employer's position in response to a charge brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;

* Auditing employer pay practices to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act; and

* Preparing training sessions for managers and supervisors on recently revised employer policies due to federal and state law amendments.

In the employ of counties, cities and towns, these attorneys must be prepared to address all sorts of matters that arise within the sizeable field of employment law. They are charged with advising their employers on a host of situations that arise in the public sector workplace. As subject matter experts, they are responsible for possessing and imparting knowledge of numerous federal, state and local employment laws and regulations. They may serve in multiple roles; as litigator, advisor or counselor, depending on the skills necessary to resolve the situation at hand. One measure of the importance of the employment law attorney is a look at litigation statistics; at this time, employment law litigation represents an increasing percentage of the docket in trial courts in the United States. (1)

There is no question that the quantity and complexity of federal and state laws impacting the work of local government human resources departments has increased dramatically in the last few decades. Examples of laws and regulations impacting human resources functions include: the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"); the Fair Labor Standards Act; the Family and Medical Leave Act; and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, among others. It would be foolhardy for managers, supervisors, and human resources department personnel to set out through the minefield of employment laws and regulations without the competent guidance of attorneys who regularly practice in this area of law. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Human Resources Issues in Local Government: Yesterday's Headlines Remain Today's "Hot Topics"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.