Talentsorcerer
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Samagatachatterjee
Legal Officer

Dear Seniors,

I have a query, but before that let me introduce myself. I am Samagata Chatterjee. I am working in a company as corporate legal for last 4 years. No during my working days, for a short while I was asked to frame HR related policies which I did. During that period, I was approached by my co-workers for help related to their employment. The problems they were facing were HR related, however in most of the cases I helped them from my legal point of view but in certain cases I helped them with drafting reply to their Show Cause notices as most of them were not good at drafting.

Now my query is:

Q. If I am working for a Company, can I help my co-workers with matters related to their employment.

I find that there are two ways to look at this problem:

a. As I am a professional and bound by my professional ethics, I am bound to provide help to my co-workers for any problems related to their employment.

b. Any problem related to their employment should be between the Management and them and I should not interfere, unless the Management neglects to follow its own policy or any legal provision conflicting with Managements action.

But what the Management proposed for me is to keep a closed eye to the problems of the co-workers. I replied to my Management in line with my point of view as stated above under a & b. What further I proposed to my Management was, if they want me to keep a closed eye, then the Management should not involve me at-all with HR related matters. However the Management had agreed and issued the necessary direction to our HR Dept.

But my query remained hanging. I find that in one hand there is ethical and moral obligation and in other hand is my corporate responsibility. Lawyers tend to balance between these two based on situations, however I need to know from the seniors about their point of view as well.
Samagata: Professionally, you can only help the HR team and not the employees, unless the employee issue relates to the organization.
Dear Friend

If you are employed or engaged by an employer and working as corporate legal professional, how will you help the delinquent employees in drafting replies to the charge sheets which were issued by same employer himself. Every employee in an organisation should note that he or she may not acts on any point which may result in detrimental to the interest of organization or leads to indiscipline among other employees.

Being corporate legal professional, you are aware about the job functions assigned to your role. Are you taking care about all issues pertaining to corporate affairs such as marketing, finance, sales, purchase and including HR also. If you uses to advise management on HR related legals issues also, you are not supposed to render any help to your co-staff member / worker in giving draft replies to their respective charge sheets. Other wise, it may amounts to misconduct and you are require to play dual role i.e as consultant in legal issues pertaining to other dept and as an advisory to union or its member employees who are said to be committed misconduct as per standing orders / service rules of the company.

If you are given sole authority to deal with HR legal issues also, HR dept will be very happy to escape from their job responsibility with regard to enforcing disciplinary actions, then you will be held responsible to frame charge sheet that are to be given to delinquent employees who commits misconduct in future. In such a case, will you help the delinquent employee who commits misconduct in future. in drafting his reply to the charge sheet which is supposed to be drafted by yourself?

So my humble suggestion is that you are not supposed to help any employee who will be given charge sheet or show cause notice that will be issued by HR dept as per the policy of company, in enforcing the discipline in the office.

Regards
Please understand that drafting of show cause reply is not as severe as you think, because the reply was drafted as per the clarification given and not based on grounds prepared by me. Our HR and Management assumes that because in our Co. no one else can draft properly. But they understand that my function is solely drafting and not preparing ground.
My concern is based on the query given. I have no role in preparing charge sheet. I should not interfere, unless the Management neglects to follow its own policy or any legal provision conflicting with Managements action. But in case the Management neglects to follow its own policy or any legal provision conflicting with Managements action shall I close my eyes?
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