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Managing your risk by Michael Kelly

NCACC Risk Management Director Michael Kelly writes a regular column on risk management for CountyLines. With more than 41 years of risk management/ insurance experience, he holds the CPCU - Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter, ARM-P - Associate in Risk Management for Public Entities, CRM - Certified Risk Manager, ARe - Associate in Reinsurance and CIC - Certified Insurance Counselor Professional Designations. He can be reached at michael.kelly@ncacc.org or (919) 719-1124.  For archives of this column click here.

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Mar 04

NCACC Risk Pools introduce free HR Legal Helpline Service

Posted on March 4, 2015 at 2:54 PM by Chris Baucom

This resource is designed to help our members take preloss, positive action in the area of risk management for employment liability exposures. Simply stated, it is controlled access to attorneys experienced in employment law in order to assist with basic, time-sensitive employment issues. 

Most importantly, we have established this service directly with pool attorneys to provide the requested advice at no initial cost to members. In order to use the Helpline, a member will complete a request form and send it by email or fax to a legal professional as outlined in the instructions on the form. Once the request is received and vetted, an attorney will contact the designated requestor no later than the close of the following business day, but response time is typically sooner.

Examples for when the Helpline could be utilized might include:
• Disciplinary actions
• Terminations
• Harassment allegations
• Reasonable accommodation requests
• Discrimination and retaliation allegations
• FMLA questions/compliance concerns
• Civil Service questions/compliance concerns.

It is also important to emphasize that the Helpline is limited in scope and not intended to replace any of the services afforded by statutory/local legal counsel, your HR Department, or HR consulting firms. You will still need to consult with your own legal counsel or other contracted HR professionals for the following instances or similar circumstances:
• Court or administrative hearing appearance on behalf of member
• In person meeting with member
• Sending correspondence to adverse party on behalf of member
• Creation, review and editing of employment policies, handbooks or personnel descriptions
• Civil Service matters revolving around a layoff or job abolishment
• Circumstances that will require extensive legal research or time

The NCACC Pools HR Legal Helpline will provide risk pool members with specific legal advice to assist with handling situations where decisions need to be made on employment related issues in a timely manner. Should a circumstance require services beyond the intended design level, NCACC risk pool members are free to contract directly with engaged pool attorneys at their own expense, as desired.

While many counties are large enough to have their own HR Department, with experienced staff for dealing with employment law, many are not. We hope this new service will help both our small and large pool members handle employment-related decisions according to the law and proven best practices. For access to the HR Legal Helpline, the intended point of contact from the county should be the County Manager, HR Director or County Attorney. Contact NCACC Risk Management Director Michael Kelly via email at michael. kelly@ncacc.org, with any additional questions you may have concerning accessibility.

The NCACC Risk Pools are continuing to explore, develop, and roll-out services to help our members manage their risks, as well as control expected losses. Bottom-line, this translates to flatter renewal rates, broader coverage specifically designed for county governments, and our continued 100% membership retention. Currently, 68 counties are members of at least one pool, and we add a few new counties each year. While this new resource is limited to NCACC risk pool members. If you would like access to this resource but are not currently a pool member, we hope you will consider joining or rejoining us this year – we would love to have you. Please see our NCACC website under Risk Management for access to the request form.