Human Resources News & Insights

The state of HR: What should be keeping you up at night?

While HR pros are a little less worried about the ACA and DOL enforcement than in previous years, thanks to the effects of the #MeToo movement and an uptick in sexual harassment lawsuits, a number of other workplace issues have them concerned.

These are some of the key findings from The Littler Annual Employer Survey, 2018, which surveyed 1,111 HR pros, execs and in-house counsel.

To view the full report, visit.

The impact of the #MeToo movement

Sexual harassment in the workplace and the correct way to respond to it is a huge issue for employers right now.

The study found that 66% of employers ranked sexual harassment as the top or the second-most concerning issue on their radar.

And a majority employers have taken proactive steps to combat this problem. In response to the cultural shift the #MeToo movement has created, employers have taken the following steps:

  • added training for supervisors and employees (cited by 55% of employers)
  • updated their HR policies or handbooks (38%), and
  • implemented new tools or investigation procedures to manage complaints (13%).

Just 24% of companies haven’t made any recent changes.

Helene Wasserman, the co-chair of Littler’s Litigation and Trials Practice Group stressed the importance of tackling the issue of harassment in the workplace head-on by stating:

“No company can afford to ignore this issue, and while many already have a good foundation, the past several months have shown the importance of reevaluating and reinforcing policies and procedures. While the law governing harassment in the workplace hasn’t changed much, employee expectations have. In addition to providing training and updating policies, it’s critical that companies have effective complaint procedures in place and that employees feel confident that reports of potential misconduct will be taken seriously and acted upon.”

Fewer concerned about ACA, federal enforcement

When it comes to the regulatory environment of the current administration, employers are a bit less worried about the issues that concerned them in the past. But many are still concerned about uncertainty.

For example, just 15% of employers are expecting a significant impact from the ACA in 2018, compared 33% in the 2017 report. Plus, only 16% of employers expressed a significant concern over DOL enforcement (compared to 25% in 2017), concern over NLRB enforcement tactics dropped from 13% in 2017 to 8% this year.

Still, 64% of employers said that reversals of workplace policies and regulations between presidential administrations put a strain on their businesses. And three-quarters (75%) said they faced challenges as states and localities work to fill perceived policy vacuums at the federal level.

The regulatory changes that have had the greatest impact on employers included a rollback of wage-and-hour policies and the new tax bill, both of which were cited by 62% of employers.

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