Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Staying up to date on legal issues critical for trainers

Outdated training could cost your company more than most trainers realize. A word of caution about getting too far ahead or reusing old training materials

Jackson (not his real name, but hey, we have to keep the attorneys happy!) is the training director for a large corporation. Let's call it XYZ, Inc. (Again, not the real name, but those attorneys are still watching, so....)

A bit a perfectionist, he prides himself on having all corporate training planned a year in advance. There are sessions on time management, on job skills, and even on touchy subjects like sexual harassment.

As of January 1st, the materials are ready and the entire year's training for all divisions is planned completely. He's even managed to reuse some old materials left over from a few years ago.

Pretty good, right? Not really.

Odds are Jackson's well-in-advance and recycled training will miss the mark on critical labor law issues. Employees at XYZ may not get the right information on some important legal issues. And that could cost XYZ money. Maybe even big money.

The thing that Jackson, and so many other trainers miss, is the fact that employment law is a moving target. And as a trainer, it's your job to stay on top of new developments and shifting regulations.

A few examples might help illustrate just how critical this is....

- Jackson's training plan included directing employees in the XYZ-owned medical labs in proper recordkeeping. But the class content was written before the new HIPAA Breach Notification rules went into effect in September of 2009. So the information Jackson gathered back in December of 2008, and the old materials he is recycling, are not only incomplete, they may be wrong.

The probable result? Records improperly maintained, with breaches unreported -- and that could lead to fines or lawsuits against XYZ.

- Jackson was very happy with his training plan for interviewing and hiring. He included age, disability and ethnic discrimination. Religious discrimination. Even pay discrimination between male and female applicants. He was certain all the bases were covered.

But during the year, the definition of an ADA disability changed. And legal decisions in a number of courts expanded protection to cover sexual identity, sexual reassignment and gender-based lifestyle issues. But Jackson's training doesn't cover any of that. And that omission could be costly for XYZ.
There are other issues Jackson may have missed during the year -- Changes in the FMLA regarding military families. Shifts in EEOC rules to cover genetic information. State-level changes in employment law. Court decisions that refine or even completely altered existing labor law practices.

If you, like Jackson, like to map out your training year, make sure you stay up to date on changes in labor law, both from legislative and judicial sources. Leave room in your curriculum for "as needed" special training sessions to bring managers and others "into the loop" on new rules and regulations.

And before you re-use older training materials, have your staff attorney or an outside employment law attorney look over the content. That little step could go along way towards keeping your company and all employees in step with today's employment law issues.


Jerry Rome Bass said...

Its about time to shine some light on a few issues, This Is Great . Twitter.Com/SafetyMentalst Thanks Again. for the Wake Up ! and Die Right .

Training Time said...

Thanks for your comment :-) Checking out your Twitter now.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author training-time.blogspot.com !
It — is intolerable.

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