Most companies, particularly larger ones, have a human resources (HR) department, or at least one HR manager. HR is a vital department with a pivotal role for the employees and the company as a whole. But when to bring an issue to HR is a concern for employees at least once in their professional career.

As per Human Resources EDU, human resources managers "Are the overseers of the human resources department and insurers of the functions and tasks being carried out by the HR team. They are often seen as the link between an organization's management and its employees, as their work runs the gamut from providing consultation on strategic planning with top executives to recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new staff. Due to the supervisory nature of this position, human resource managers are called upon to handle employee-related services, regulatory compliance, and employee relations, among many other tasks."

That's why your HR manager is the best person to go to if ever you experience any of the issues listed below. The workplace should be a zone where everyone is treated with respect, equality, and fairness. HR is on your side. Be willing to speak to your HR manager when appropriate and necessary. It can make a major impact on your work life.

1. Harassment

There is never an acceptable reason anyone should be harassed in the workplace. Whether sexual in nature or otherwise, "joking around" or dead serious, a place of employment is the wrong place for harassing others. Not that harassment anywhere is acceptable, but at least at work, feel secure in knowing HR is there to protect you.

As per TalentZoo, "If you feel you are being harassed or bullied, you should talk to your human resources department. It doesn't matter whether the person doing the harassing is a client, customer, colleague, or boss. It's important to report it." U.S. News & World Report adds more specifically, " If you're being sexually harassed or harassed on the basis of your race, sex, religion, disability, national origin, age (if you're 40 or older) or other protected class, HR has a legal obligation to investigate and put a stop to it."

Not only can HR investigate and put an end to this inappropriate behavior, but your complaint will be on record with the company if the situation continues, worsens, happens to someone else, or needs to be proved to the boss or even in a court of law. Don't let any form of harassment fly under the radar. If not put to a halt, it will usually continue, making the workplace a volatile place to be.

2. Discrimination

No form of discrimination is tolerable in the workplace. It can lead to anything from awkwardness to tension to outright danger. U.S. News & World Report notes, "Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of these traits (race, sex, religion, disability or other protected class), and companies are obligated to take action when a report of such discrimination is made in good faith. This is a case in which HR is more likely to more likely to understand what the law requires and know how to proceed correctly than your boss might be."

And it doesn't necessarily have to be you who is being discriminated against in order for you to bring it to HR's attention. According to The Undercover Recruiter, "It is possible to bring prejudice to light even if you are not discriminated against personally. If you feel someone's been unfairly treated, whether because of sexuality, age, race or disability, you have the right to raise the issue with your company, even if you don't share the characteristic that's being discriminated against."

Discrimination against anyone makes for a disrupted and even unsafe workplace. We're all in this together, so if you see (or hear) something, say something.

3. Accommodations/Lifestyle Change


If you need to make a change in your current work situation, be it time off, new hours, an inquiry about maternity/paternity leave, new openings in the company, etc., HR is the place to discuss and plan accordingly. The Undercover Recruiter says, "They'll (HR) liaise with your boss and try to make your schedule work for everyone."

Additionally, HR is your friend when it comes to understanding your company's benefits packages, pension and retirement plans, job details, vacation and sick day accommodations, health coverage, etc. The HR manager is responsible to relay this information to you and work with you to make sure you're set up with all the necessary paperwork and explanations. Always keep abreast of new packages and programs being offered at your place of employment and of any updates or changes along the way. These "extras" can be as important as your job itself.

If you are not being treated properly, HR is there to make things right. For instance, as per Talent Zoo, "If you're a breast-feeding mother, your office needs to provide you with a private area to pump milk during the day. If you don't have access to this, you should take your concerns to the human resources office." HR will let you know what your rights are and will help enforce and protect them.

HR is there for you, to make your employment experience positive with protection and knowledge. As The Undercover Recruiter puts it, "One of the most important people you'll be meeting is your Human Resources manager, because their main aim is your welfare. It's important that HR exists to make sure you, and your colleagues, are happy at work."

If you have an issue, don't hesitate to reach out to HR. Your safety and workplace satisfaction are their concern for both you and the company as a whole.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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