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HR professionals often get caught in the middle when their employer is contemplating something ill-advised or illegal (e.g., being asked to find a bogus reason for firing a whistleblower, or to approve a wrist-slap for an executive who is clearly a serial harasser). Faced with such pressure and possibly with their own job on the line, HR professionals must consult their conscience, of course; but they also should consider their personal legal risk. Depending on the scenario and the applicable law, an HR professional may be held individually liable in an employee's resulting lawsuit, or may even be convicted in a criminal proceeding. This session identifies the workplace laws that allow for such personal liability, and offers practical advice to avoid being named in a legal action. Walk through three scenarios involving schemes that are recognizably illegal, and get suggestions that should spare HR professionals and their employers a trip to court.
- Which major workplace statutes do and do not allow for individual liability.
- How to identify common situations in which a risk of personal liability is present.
- Behaviors and statements that may increase or decrease an HR professional’s chance of being sued individually.
- Best practices for deflecting management requests to participate in, or turn a blind eye to, wrongdoing.