HR embarrassment: the department that blamed staff for its own mistake

One HR department has been left red-faced after a half-million dollar mistake blamed on “fraudulent” employees has turned out to be its own fault.

HR embarrassment: the department that blamed staff for its own mistake
An HR department in the United States that accused dozens of employees of fraud has had the tables turned on its own team.

The nine HR professionals at Bucks County, Philadelphia, have been called “lax, unprofessional and inadequate” by a grand jury after the jury found the HR department deliberately lied about its behavior.

The storm began in January 2013 when HR director Meredith Dolan announced the results of an audit showing that dozens of county workers had included about 200 ineligible dependents in their health plans, costing $450,000 a year in premiums.

The department had blamed apparently fraudulent employees for the problem, which instigated a yearlong investigation. However, on Friday, it was found the ineligible dependents listed were actually a result of bungling on behalf of the department itself, which was accused of losing its way by the County Controller.

The department was found to manage healthcare plans for its 1,700 employees using an honour system that was limited to paper records and had no electronic documentation at all. Many employees had tried to remove ineligible dependents from their plans, the investigation revealed, but the department had failed to follow through.

Dolan, who is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, has served as the County’s HR director since August 2009.

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