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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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.