A Must-Have Handbook For Human Resources


Hiring, Firing, Performance
Evaluations, Documentation, Benefits, and Everything Else You Need to Know

One of the core challenges faced by human resource managers is a constantly changing regulatory environment that requires vigilant monitoring. In addition to the notifications and news from government and professional websites, books such as the second edition of Max Muller’s The Manager’s Guide to HR can be invaluable in updating you on the latest HR developments as well as providing a comprehensive overview of the human resources function. This new edition of Muller’s book now includes:

  • Information on amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • An overview of the differences between the IRS’s definition of a contractor and the different definition, based on the “ABC Test,” that is followed by 23 states.
  • A new section on using the Internet for background checks.
  • Updated recordkeeping requirements related to the Genetic Information      Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

From Hiring to Privacy

As evidenced by the sample of updates listed above, this book is a comprehensive manual that dives into the specific laws and regulations governing 21st-century human resources. Muller also takes apart each function of HR (hiring, training, benefits, compensation, firing and separation), carefully explaining in detail the tasks and responsibilities that must be carried out.

Muller’s first chapter on hiring is typical of the book. It begins with a discussion on creating a complete job description, which he says should be based on interviews with incumbents — people who have held the job before and who know better than anyone what’s required. Muller includes a chart listing 26 core competencies that should be covered in these incumbent interviews. Once the job description is created and the job is posted, Muller tells his readers what to look for in the applications received from candidates — from the overall appearance of the application (are there misspellings?) to gaps or overlaps in employment. Another chart in the chapter covers 16 topic areas that can fall under the bias rules governing job interviews. The chart differentiates between what is acceptable to ask and what is not. For “national origin,” the guide suggests it’s OK to ask what languages a candidate speaks, but not about the national origin of the employee, his parents or wife.

In addition to the standard HR areas mentioned above, Muller dedicates a chapter each to sexual harassment and workplace violence, employment laws, privacy issues, and documentation and record retention. One of the most difficult areas for employers to deal with involves privacy issues. Muller notes there is no single definitive set of laws that delineate the boundaries of privacy. His chapter on privacy issues offers some guidelines based on laws governing consumer reports, criminal and social media background checks, medical information collected during the hiring process and email and Internet monitoring. In many cases, acquiring consent from the employee is recommended. One important takeaway from this chapter is the tendency for companies to implement overly broad social media policies — such as (but not limited to) prohibitions against disparagement, the use of logos and photographs “depicting the company in any way” — that would be considered unlawful by the National Labor Relations Board.

Despite the overwhelming complexity of its subject, The Manager’s Guide to HR is not only balanced and authoritative, but it is also concise and clearly organized — a valuable manual for HR directors and personnel in any organization.

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