Barnestorming agenda

Barnes & Thornburg attorneys will discuss human resources-related legal topics at BARNEStorming on Feb. 21 at Indiana Tech.

Three times a year Barnes & Thornburg presents a free labor and employment law seminar. For its “BARNEStorming” seminar Feb. 21 on human resources-related topics it’s pairing for the first time with a university, one that has an HR program with students who’ve earned a prestigious certification.

Of Indiana Tech’s 10,000 students, 300 are in the HR program, Jeffrey L. Walls, professor of business in Indiana Tech’s College of Business, said.

Three students and one alumni recently passed the Society for Human Resource Management exam.

“It’s incredibly difficult to pass,” Walls, who holds the certification, said. “It’s not the bar,” but only 52 percent of applicants pass.

Technology has vastly changed the HR job, Walls said.

• Personnel files that once resided in filing cabinets now are digital.

• Videotaping can capture someone’s wrongdoing.

• Companies may use YouTube for training.

To recruit top talent during this time of low unemployment companies are reintroducing benefits, such as 401(k) matching.

Technology also allows companies have employees work off site, who might be all over the world.

“Now you have to manage them,” Walls said.

The legalization of marijuana in various states that Indiana employees may visit is one legal issue that HR managers must deal with.

“It may not be a crime in Vegas, but when you return to Indiana it is,” said Adam Bartrom, who’ll present “Workforce Civility = Bottom Line Savings.” Bartrom, who also writes a monthly column for Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, said his presentation will include harassment, reflecting the #MeToo movement.

“The key to avoiding lawsuits is long before my phone rings,” Bartrom said. “...Happy employees don’t file lawsuits, and lawsuits are expensive.”

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