Developing Preventive Strategies with HR Legal Compliance- COVID19 Pandemic and the Role of Labor Relations Teams


March 24, 2020

Just like you, we have been monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Countries worldwide are learning from the evolving situation and trying to mitigate the impact of the COVID19 outbreak to the best of their ability. Workplace management has geared its focus entirely towards updating its policies, sending out communications, taking preliminary measures to keep their staff and community protected. Changes in workplace procedures are being enforced rapidly to minimize the impact on the workforce. Amid all this crisis, imminent concerns have risen related to the shift in the organizations.



As the countries make risk management measures, it also impacts their organizational landscape. The HR teams are even more required to be equipped with transparent and easy to use tools to manage change. The Labor Relations and Health & Safety teams are at the center of this situation. The lack of standardization across labor relations processes adds more complexity to the current situation. Organizations with a unionized workforce are dealing with rather more complexity due to their collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with unions. Some of the basic expectations of a digital solution are:

  • Allow employees to call in complaints with automatic notifications to the department supervisor while generating an incident report. For unionized environments, CBAs and seniority play a big role by adding huge complexity to this situation leading up to class action suits.
  • Generate an investigation plan, notifications and closure letters to all parties (i.e. complainant, respondent, witnesses, supervisors, grievance coordinators, unions, union reps, and other administrators).
  • Track investigation progress and interviews within the report with automated time-based reminders e.g. Generate 30/60/90-day reminders to investigators.
  • Allow investigators to enter interviews, case analysis, respondent(s), witnesses, date complaint was filed, date complaint was initiated, interview dates, allegation, policies, analysis, conclusion, case submission date, case approval date, case closure date.
  • On-demand data reporting for case stats (i.e. the number of investigations for a particular year, investigator, campus, department, supervisor, complainant, respondent, period, status, timeline, business unit.
  • Cost Impacts with cost of arbitration including backpay/award, cost of arbitrator, award cost and legal fees, etc.
  • Ability to automate union seniority rules and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) clauses

The Sodales Labor Relations and Grievance and Investigation Management tool fulfills this need by allowing a singular platform to report, investigate, process and track grievances through various steps while allowing access to the most up-to-date data using our configurable workflow. Our tool also allows Labor Relations to set up or adjust specific rules for updated company policies using the administrative console. This enables the standardization of practices across the entire organization.

Some examples of complaints that are already being reported and can be addressed through the Labor Relations software include:

  • Discrimination Cases: In recent events, an increased number of individuals around the workplace are also reporting discrimination cases against  workers from certain ethnicity. Leadership needs to address these cases while creating positive organizational morale with proactive communication. The Sodales Labor Relations software enables pre-built workflows for managing and investigating discrimination cases while capturing data and metrics that can help shape the updates in policies and risk management tools.
  • Refusal To Work In Unsafe Work Conditions: With the increased stress in the workforce and our communities, management is also having to deal with work refusals. Certain essential businesses are suffering from a shortage of staff during this time. As work refusal is every employee’s right, management is having to deal with these matters very carefully. Our solution allows employees to take up work refusals to their supervisors and report them via our Labor Relations tool. This functionality is specifically being used by manufacturing, distribution, transportation and EC&O organizations.
  • Lost Time For Quarantined Workers. Quarantined worker can charge lost time to vacation or leave balance. Every company is handling sick leaves differently. Investigations are being performed along with HIPAA compliant video conference interviews to often assess the situations. Decisions around whether leaves should be paid, unpaid, counted towards a vacation is also dependant on what is stated in the Collective Bargain Agreements for unionized organizations. Companies may be going through negotiations with their unions and policy updates might be taking place which can be adjusted in our tool through our administrative console.
  • Certification Rules with Union Seniority: Soon, senior employees who might not have up-to-date training are being expected to be at a higher risk during hour reductions. While managing flustered staff can be challenging, it can be simplified with automated workflows for Labor Relations. The Sodales Labor Relations software enables certification eligibility checks and seniority management using the seniority engine.

The Sodales Labor Relations software uses industry best practices to provide a strategic and comprehensive solution along with increased remote collaboration and investigation tools. The solution also allows easy communication through letter generation capabilities, AI-based chatbots, and note-taking.

If you would like to adopt these best practices, which are already being implemented by our customers, for enhancing organizational benefit by combating the COVID-19 impact; please contact us at

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