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I know it often comes across as "HR is the enemy", but given the questions I've seen over the past five years, many people seem to think that they can run to HR over the littlest problems, have HR give them a pat on the head, a warm glass of milk, and send them on their way, while taking on the big bad meanie that hurt their feelings.

I'm exaggerating of course, but it does seem that many think that going to HR will have little to no negative consequences for them, when in reality it can backfire.

I think that a canonical response that outlines what HR is for, what HR is NOT for, and how to approach HR, including what kind of documentation is necessary, and the steps that need to be taken prior to approaching them may be a valuable addition to this stack.

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    I can see it now. The big, bold, hyperlinked, HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND! – Kaz Jan 18 at 16:46
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    Over-generalization is a bad idea. – Joe Strazzere Jan 19 at 14:19
  • @JoeStrazzere Is HR going to go against the company's best interests in favor of an employee? – Old_Lamplighter Jan 19 at 15:42
  • Could HR be your friend and still have the company's best interest at heart? If the title of the question/answer were "What is the role of HR?", I'd be more amenable to the idea. – Joe Strazzere Jan 19 at 16:37
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    @JoeStrazzere I have no problem with that – Old_Lamplighter Jan 19 at 17:20
  • @JoeStrazzere I'll have to change my catch phrase though :D People do misunderstand what the role of HR is. Specifically, it is not, as a friend of mine said "to play Kindergarten Cop" – Old_Lamplighter Jan 19 at 17:21
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The biggest problem to a "canonical" question would be that the "HR is not your friend" is a rather localized answer. In particular, it is pretty much a US meme at this point. In quite a few countries with medium to strong labor laws, HR is primarily responsible for the company's compliance.

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  • I think this is why there needs to be an answer, because the "HR is not your friends" is actually universally true (for some definition of HR), as they are always acting on behalf of the company. Even when ensuring compliance they are doing so to protect the company. Even if sometimes the intermediate goals are sometimes in alignment, the fundamental issue is the purpose of HR is to favour the interests of the company, not that of an employee. – Gregory Currie Feb 28 at 16:30

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