Happy New Year!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful 2013, replete with success and happiness. I typically like to start off the year with at least one HR-related resolution to pass on to my clients.

For 2013, I’ve picked this one: Centralizing decision-making when it comes to employee relations.

But there are so many potential resolutions to choose from, you may be thinking. Why this one? In a word (or maybe two), litigation avoidance. Something near and dear to my employment lawyer heart.

Chances are you know the mantra “consistency is key.” Consistency in how documentation is maintained, how discipline and termination decisions are made, and in responding to employee complaints, to name just a few.

Another biggie: addressing requests for reasonable accommodations.

None of these decisions should be made solely at the front-line manager level — that is, simply put, a recipe for inconsistent treatment that leaves plaintiffs and their lawyers salivating. The antidote is easy: centralize decision-making. Make sure supervisors and managers know that when certain clearly spelled out issues arise, they need to get HR (or some designated person) involved.

And a BIG BONUS: Centralizing decision-making communicates respect to employees. It conveys a culture of fairness and equality. Everyone could use that this year, and in years to come.

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