Lawyers Finding Jobs in Employee Relations

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Depending upon the corporation, you may also find this activity entitled industrial relations, labor relations or personnel administration. To add to the confusion, you will find that no matter how it is designated, this area of the corporation's activities covers several distinct functions, each of which will be discussed separately. The desirability of having legally trained persons employed in these activities is evident in the substantial number of lawyers now occupying these posts.

Most companies appear to apply the designation 'labor relations" specifically to the activities surrounding the development and implementation of company labor policies and procedures and its relationships with unions. Individuals working in this area may be involved in one or more areas of concern. This may include negotiation of the various corporate labor agreements within previously approved economic limits, and monitoring labor relations matters throughout the corporation to insure adherence to applicable labor agreements and corporate labor relations policies.

In some instances, these persons will develop and present the company's position in arbitration cases, or handle NLRB unfair labor practice charges and representation situations. On a continuing basis, they will review labor relations policies and practices and labor agreements to insure compliance with applicable federal and state laws.

They will find it imperative to keep current on proposed labor legislation, NLRB decisions, court decisions and EEO rulings, including safety, security and fair employment practices, to determine what effect, if any, these developments will have on corporate labor agreements, practices, policies and procedures, and see that all company personnel are kept informed. Upon occasion, they may participate in the settlement of labor disputes, arbitrations, grievances and other employee and union relations matters.

They may work to maintain effective rapport with local union representatives and will often cooperate with the wage and salary administration function and with other industry representatives, either directly or through trade associations, to insure harmonious employee relations through maintenance of equitable and competitive wage policies.

Still another separate area within the employee relations field is that of employee benefits. This can involve the planning, development, implementation and administration of a variety of benefit programs, including, but not limited to, medical and dental insurance, long-term disability, retirement benefits, and may be involved in the financing of such programs. It can also encompass dealing with estates, irrevocable trusts and similar matters. An important and integral part of this program is the communication regarding employee benefits directly to the employees involved.

A relative newcomer in the employee relations area is the Equal Employment Opportunities program. This involves development of policies to insure compliance with equal employment opportunities legislation, the analysis of company practices for compliance, and the proposal of recommended courses of action. In most corporations, this activity appears as separate from the labor relations function, but obviously, it must be closely coordinated with that operation.

You will also find persons with legal training working in the administration of workers' compensation programs, in the recruitment and training of employees and in wage and salary administration.

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