The Knowledge Nook

HR Professionals Must Deal With Emerging U.S. Workplace Trends, Issues

Posted by Tami Russell on Apr 4, 2017 4:50:41 PM


It would be incorrect to assume that human resource professionals just spend their days hiring and firing employees, or preparing payroll for the next pay period.  There are numerous positions within most corporate HR offices, and the kinds of tasks that unfold are complex, and vital to the success of an organization.

In addition, the work of HR professionals in the U.S. is often at the epicenter of emerging trends and complicate, people-centered issues.  Here are a few recent examples of current topics from several respected human resource-based news sites.

To Hug or Not To Hug: It Might Cost You A Lawsuit

A recent case capturing headlines described that hugging in the workplace has become a problem for employers.  According to, a source of daily updates on the HR field, hugging is now a formerly benign, and now disturbing, behavior that can lead to unwelcomed lawsuits. reports, “With a new ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, it appears we’ve reached the point in our history when employers must ban hugging from any and all work-related functions.”

This new realization is based on a current sexual harassment lawsuit, now proceeding to trial, where hugging is the major issue.  The takeaway, according to, “while hugging is often an acceptable form of social greeting, it can now be a breeding ground for sexual harassment lawsuits.”

It’s just the latest in a long line of issues that a professional Human Resources manager or employee must be aware of, and stay ahead of.  As laws flex and change, HR professionals are expected to stay on top of the emerging legal trends and potential workplace issues, for the betterment of the organizations in which they work.

Ethics: What Keeps Us From Doing the Right Thing?, a subscription news site and compliance tool provider for HR professionals, has an interesting take on unethical behavior in the workplace.  Here’s a peek at what they had to say:

  • Pressure (to succeed, get ahead, meet deadlines, etc.) can drive people to do things they wouldn’t normally do.
  • Being unclear on what the “right”, or ethical, response is to any given situation can cause an employee to do something considered questionable. Some employees simply lack the knowledge about what the “right” thing to do is in a given situation.
  • Misguided loyalty to an employer or co-worker can cause some employees to make an unethical decision.

 How does an HR professional handle an ethics violation? Read more about ethics in the workplace at

 What’s Different for HR Issues in the Trump Administration?

With every new administration, HR professionals find themselves pouring through new regulations and rules.  The Trump administration is no different.

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently focused on some of Trump’s campaign promises, including:

  • Reform regulations and tax reductions
  • Trade deficit issues
  • Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (currently in limbo after a failure to garner enough support for the repeal)
  • Support for paid maternity leave and additional child care opportunities
  • Call for an increase in wage for H-1B visas

How will Trump’s administration policies play out with America’s working class?  There is no way to tell this early in the administration, but savvy HR professionals know they need to stay ahead of the news that impacts their employees and organizations.

Enroll in a Program That Boosts Your HR Skills

PDI offers the HRCI Certification Program twice a year.  The program, designed to expand your HR knowledge and skills, and to prepare you for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR®) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) certification exams, has a long history of giving professionals the information they need to excel.  Learn more now by visiting, or by giving us a call at 866.374.0876.



Topics: human resources

About PDI

Learning Is For Life

PDI - The Professional Development Institute of the University of North Texas - is dedicated to your desire to never stop learning!  "The Knowledge Nook," our blog designed to share best practices, trending topics and other tidbits of information, is a tool to help you as you plot your career path. If you have specific questions, blog topic ideas or comments on particular topics, please let us know! We look forward to learning together.

Find out what PDI can do for you! Learn more today about:

  • Paralegal
  • Dental Assistant
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Private Investigations
  • Human Resources
  • Energy
  • General work trends

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts