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Employees in personnel management jobs are responsible for managing a portion of the labor force. Personnel management jobs are often classified as Human Resources (HR) positions although personnel managers are usually tasked with handling matters relating to existing staff rather than taking an active role in the recruitment of new employees. Many firms have several tiers of personnel management jobs ranging from HR supervisors to regional HR or personnel directors.
A personnel supervisor assumes responsibility for the day-to-day operations of a human resources department. The supervisor must ensure that all HR staff are familiar with the firm's hiring practices and also ensure that employees abide by laws related to privacy and equal opportunities. In some nations, companies are required to maintain reports detailing the demographic make-up of the workforce. A personnel supervisor must ensure that these reports are accurately completed and that all HR employees complete their assigned tasks.
In many instances, supervisors report to a general manager who may oversee several different areas of the HR department. Employee disputes that cannot be resolved by front line HR staff or the staff supervisor are often referred to the HR manager. Departmental managers often consult the HR manager prior to taking disciplinary measures against employees. The HR manager must advise departmental managers as to company policies and local laws so as to ensure that all employees are treated equally.
At many large firms, the personnel management jobs typically include a regional director who overseas a firm's HR issues within a particular nation or region. The HR director sometimes assumes responsibility for rolling out initiatives to create a harassment free work environment by providing all employees with training about diversity and cultural sensitivity. HR managers report to the HR director and the director may have to represent the firm in court during industrial labor disputes. In some firms, the personnel or HR director sits on the board of directors of the firm and can have a major influence on the hiring practices of the firm as a whole.
Many countries, including those in the European Union and North America, have strict employment laws in place that make it illegal for companies or company personnel to discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the basis of factors such as race or religion. Nevertheless, incidents involving discrimination sometimes arise. Furthermore, employees who are injured in the workplace are often able to sue their employers for damages. Consequently, many firms employ corporate lawyers to handle such lawsuits and these firms are often presided over by a personnel manager who is also a practicing lawyer. In many instances, personnel managers with law degrees are able to mediate disputes internally before the matter goes to court.