Senior Employee Relations Consultant

Unum | Portland, ME, United States

Posted Date 6/11/2021
Description Job Posting End Date: July 09

Unum is a company of people serving people. As one of the world's leading employee benefits providers and a Fortune 500 company, Unum's financial protection benefits help protect more than 36 million working people and their families from the financial impact of illness or injury. Unum's three distinct, but similarly focused US businesses – Unum US, Colonial Life, and Starmount Life – are each a market leader in making disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, and vision insurance accessible in the workplace.

Headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Unum also has significant US operations in Portland, Maine, - and over 35 field offices nationwide. Colonial Life is headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina with over 40 field offices nationwide. Starmount Life is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is the dental and vision center of excellence for Unum in the US.

General Summary:

The Senior Employee Relations position delivers a high level of expertise at the individual, manager, Director and AVP level within an assigned client area. Professionals serve in a consultative role by providing advice, guidance and coaching to different levels of management on performance, EEO and employee relations issues. The primary focus of their role is to build expertise in managers that they are coaching. They are responsible for the investigation and management of all employment related complaints. The Sr. Employee Relations position is responsible for understanding and balancing the needs of the business and our clients, while ensuring practical, consistent application of HR policies and practices.

Due to the often complex issues to be resolved, this position has significant impact on the manager-employee relationship, and on the work environment. This Sr. Employee Relations Consultant minimizes legal exposure for the Company as a result of effective employee relations consultation and knowledge of employment laws, HR policies and high level of employee relations expertise.

In addition to their primary role, they also provide a training/mentoring role for less experienced consultants. They are recognized as the "go-to" functional experts. A collaborative partnership exists between the Employee Relations Consultant and HR Business Partner. Pertinent information and expertise is exchanged on a timely basis thereby facilitating the success of client and organization initiatives. Strong partnerships are maintained between ER, Legal, Disability Management, and Security as many cases require that the Sr. ERC integrate efforts of one or all of these areas in managing Employee Relations matters.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provides performance management support and coaching to managers with the intended goal of growing managers’ expertise in this area.
  • Recommends appropriate management action in response to performance, EEO/employee relations' issues.
  • Provides training and mentoring function to individual ER consultants as assigned.
  • In partnership with Leadership Development and Training, provides training and coaching to managers to increase their effectiveness in areas of HR management.
  • Develops and/or conducts training modules for sexual harassment, legislative awareness, ADA, affirmative action, performance management, and disciplinary actions.
  • Reviews complaint investigations and documentation by others for internal/external precedent, applicable law and potential liability prior to a recommended resolution.
  • Responds to and tracks all employment-related complaints and allegations related to discrimination, violation of law or unfair treatment based on age, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status including complaints regarding harassment of physical, sexual, verbal or visual nature.
  • Conducts investigations in response to internal complaints. Facilitates complaint resolution.
  • Represents Unum in person and in writing in response to, and resolution of, external discrimination charges.
  • Responds to legal compliance requirements by external agencies.
  • Advises managers on disciplinary issues including misconduct, policy practice violations, corrective actions, probation and termination. Reviews involuntary terminations and disciplinary decisions for fairness, consistency and potential legal liability.
  • Regularly uses judgment and discretion to interpret corporate policy for employees and managers. Encourages reliance on new tools as they become available and less reliance on individual consultation.
  • Consults with Disability Management, Legal and management on FMLA/ADA and Return to Work issues, with Legal on complex employment issues and on termination issues, and with Security and Legal on threat issues. Manages conflict resolution and mediation of issues within client area based upon knowledge of the organization and HR issues involved.
  • Administration of exit interviews, surveys and other measurements when required. Timely interpretation of measures and trends shared with the Business Partners and other internal partners.
  • Special projects as assigned.
  • May perform other duties as assigned.

Job Specifications

  • Undergraduate degree preferred
  • 3-7 years of related Employee Relations experience and/or broad HR related experience
  • Experience working in a complex organization, preferably business
  • Experience in a consulting type role, showing the ability to objectively assess and influence outcomes
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with emphasis on listening and communicating clearly and succinctly
  • Experience facilitating others to accomplish a goal
  • Ability to juggle multiple priorities
  • Experience showing the ability to balance and integrate a compassionate approach to dealing with sensitive human issues with a pragmatic approach to making the right business decision.
  • Broad knowledge of employment law preferred
  • Ability to influence others
  • Strong organization and time management skills
  • Excellent writing skills

Physical Abilities Required

  • Auto and air travel
  • Ability to use PC, telephone and calculator


Our company is built on helping individuals and families, and this starts with our employees. We want employees to maintain a positive balance, which is why we provide access to the benefits and resources they need to invest in themselves. From our onsite fitness facilities and generous paid time off to employee professional development programs, we are committed to helping employees live and work their best – both inside and outside the office.

Unum is an equal opportunity employer, considering all qualified applicants and employees for hiring, placement, and advancement, without regard to a person's race, color, religion, national origin, age, genetic information, military status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or protected veteran status.

Geographic Region
Greater Portland/Casco Bay

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