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Legal Safety and Regulatory Requirements

Legal Safety and Regulatory Requirements

Litigation in the workplace is not a new occurrence; however, the components of workplace litigation and have become increasingly complex in recent years. Strong changes in employment laws have combined with broad changes in our culture of how we live and work. The phrase, “Common sense and compassion in the workplace have been replaced by litigation,” is a statement that is very agreeable in today’s society; common questions no longer have simple answers. The reason for the lack of simplicity is human resources has to now be extremely careful in dealing with issues and ensuring the answers involve legal, safety, and regulatory responses. The new fear for organizations is no longer about lack of productivity but fear of litigation.

Legal Process

The role of Human Resources in health care is crucial to the success of any organization, and while some policies or issues may seem to have a “common sense” ambiance, there needs to be an assurance that the resolutions are sound. In this new day and age of technology, most organizations and employees are governed by policies, rules, and regulations, especially in health care. And when there is no policy or procedure to reference, and with fear of the legal process, employees stop thinking for themselves and take no action, even when it is required. Thus, what used to be a common-sense reaction or resolution, is now governed by fear of litigation instead of the desired result. The legalities of the policies are all too often misused and undermine the use of practical common sense. (Odina, R, 2016)

The initial role of human resources was the ability to hire the right employees and keep them engaged in a professional and productive environment, yet, the new role was to avoid the legal process. Hiring the right people, creating a positive work environment, and avoiding litigation are all common sense principles that are relevant regardless of profession, yet in health care, they remain center stage. (Odina, R, 2016)

Safety Process

Practicing safe behavior regarding patients or in a health care setting, again, appears to be a common-sense issue. However, this is far from the case; while it is a basic part of a healthcare provider’s ethical and professional standards to always put safety first, the possibility of litigation still hangs overhead. In the human resource setting, it is the responsibility of the health care provider or facility to ensure the safety of their employees and patients. For example, if a patient has fallen and may require help, the common sense approach is to assist the patient. Yet, despite this initial reaction, the staff is hesitant to quickly come to the aide for fear of being falsely accused of some type of litigation. Another example is a physician’s risk of malpractice litigation seems to be a relevant factor affecting these behaviors. (Schwartz, J., 2014)

The prevention of litigation is becoming more and more crucial, especially with safety policies. Safety procedures should be put in place for how incidents will be discussed, reported, and disclosed. It is the lack of such procedures which may result in the shifting of responsibilities and therefore, lead to litigation. The goal of the human resources department is to incorporate common sense processes into written policy, the result being realistic care expectations; patients and employees also need to be better informed about the complexity and risks of providing health care safety in regard to litigation. (Schwartz, J., 2014)

Regulatory Process

The only process where common sense should not be taken without research is when it deals with regulatory processes. If regulatory processes are not followed accordingly, litigation is almost inevitable. For example, HIPAA, The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (“Privacy Rule”) establishes, for the first time, a set of national standards for the protection of certain health information. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the Privacy Rule to implement the requirement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). (hss.gov, 2016) The purpose of the regulatory statute is to ensure a patient’s information is securely protected. Within HHS, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has responsibility for implementing and enforcing the Privacy Rule, resulting in litigation, and the consequences of not following these regulations could be a swift penalty for employees and organizations. Human Resources implements regulatory processes as a top priority; litigation is inevitable regarding the privacy rule and protecting the privacy of people who seek health care. (hss.gov, 2016)

Conclusion

In providing health care, whether clinical or administrative services, the role of human resources is very important. Human resources are the liaison between following policy and utilizing common sense. The phrase, “Common sense and compassion in the workplace have been replaced by litigation,” is a true statement based on the environment we live and work in today. Organizations and their employees no longer use the initial reactions to deal with issues; they do not rely on the rules and regulations to resolve issues. While in some cases, this would be accurate, each time there is a level of compassion that is lost and it becomes more about the legal process.

References

(n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2016, from http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/index.html

Odina, R. (n.d.). Legal Regulatory Requirements on the Human Resource Process. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 26, 2016, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/legal- regulatory-requirements-human-resource-process-20590.html

Schwartz, J. C. (2014, August 10). How health care is learning from lawsuits. The Opinion Pages. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/opinion/how-health- care-is-             learning-from-lawsuits.html?_r=0

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Question 


Assignment Content

Human resources departments have evolved significantly throughout modern history. The one force that has shaped human resources more than any other and has been most responsible for how the department functions today has been the state and federal government. Human resources departments have always been highly influenced by the passage of new laws (e.g., HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act), regulatory policies (e.g., nondiscrimination/harassment or retaliation policies that are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)), and safety protections (such as those enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)).

Legal Safety and Regulatory Requirements

Legal Safety and Regulatory Requirements

Write a 700- to 1,050-word paper that examines the effect of legal, safety, and regulatory requirements on the human resources process. Your paper should focus on employee-related regulations established by the United States, such as the Department of Labor, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Department of Homeland Security.

Include your thoughts on the following statement:

“Common sense and compassion in the workplace have been replaced by litigation.”

Cite at least 3 references.

Format your assignment according to APA guidelines.

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