Lawsuits are one of the biggest threats to any business. One of the most frequent legal liability you should watch out for is employee lawsuits. Well, employee lawsuits are time-consuming, costly, and disruptive to your business performance. Common employee lawsuits stem from unwarranted termination, workplace harassment, workplace injuries, etc. This quick guide equips you with tips on lowering your risks of employee lawsuits in your business.
Drafting and adopting clear policies and procedures is very crucial in your organization. Preparing an employee handbook that concisely explains the company’s rules regarding promotion, job requirements, disciplinary process, sick leave, vacation, and other topics relevant to employment helps employees understand your organization’s policies better. Revising and updating your systems is a significant step one should take with an employment lawyer’s help to ensure that employees are consistent with evolving laws. Ensure that your employees are all up to date with the changes once you revise or update your policies. You can have them sign an acknowledgment if it is in printed form or have the information sent by email to all employees.
When conducting interviews to hire new personnel, investigate your potential employee backgrounds thoroughly. This will help you determine whether an employee has been troublesome in the past, especially at their previous workplace. This can be done by checking their references where previous employers provide verification for employment and provide recommendations for employees. When interviewing potential employees, inquire why they left their previous positions.
The reason they give will provide some insight into their work history and ability to succeed at your company. Its essential you also question any gaps on their resume’ as this could be potential red flags, especially for those that change jobs often or have served many positions over a short time. Also, outline the expectations for your prospective employees set for their desired positions and avoid making promises about the company’s future.
You ought to also provide on-the-job safety training to all employees to avoid workplace injuries. Encourage them on the importance of adhering to safe work practices and encourage the managers as well to attend employee safety conferences to learn more about the best and most recent safety practices. Additionally, make sure your business vehicles are properly maintained to avoid accident liability. According to a car accident lawyer, you are likely liable in case your employee gets into an auto accident at work. You might be liable under what is known as vicarious liability depending on your legal agreements and if your employee was acting in the course and scope of employment.
Remember, a well-trained team is a safe team, and the less the chances of an employee filing a lawsuit due to an on-the-job injury. It might also be worth outsourcing bigger or more dangerous jobs such as heavy lift crane services, for example. Also, don’t forget to give your team essential protection equipment such as gloves, safety shoes, helmets, earplugs, etc.
Tip: Ensure your business is protected by an insurance policy like workers’ comp to protect you against employee lawsuits.
It is also smart to create an easy and transparent complaint reporting procedure for your employees in your organization. Provide a dedicated hotline or to report complaints to. Alternatively, make your employees aware that they can report directly to HR if there is an issue with a colleague, manager, or supervisor. For a formal complaint, a written document has to be involved. Your managers should communicate effectively and efficiently with other employees, especially regarding complaints and ideas that impact their job. Having transparent and open dialogues between employers and employees minimizes the likelihood of misunderstandings that could lead to a lawsuit. You must address complaints as soon as they arise and follow your company’s disciplinary policies while at it.
Any company needs to have a regular review process for its employees. It’s crucial as well for managers to give honest feedback about employee’s performance during this process. If an employee has a bad performance review, explain how the individual has failed to meet the set goals and provide them with concrete examples on how they can improve their performance.
Additionally, treat your employees respectfully, fairly, and consistency. If you reward an employee for good performance with either time off reward or cash bonus, do not give the same benefits to a poor performing employee. Your employees are less likely to file for a lawsuit during downsizing or layoff of staff due to positive and fair workplace ethics maintained. To ensure all your employees are treated fairly, follow the company’s procedures and policies. Also, handle matters consistently without an employee having to feel left out.
Lawsuits are an unfortunate part of running a business but luckily, most are avoidable. As a business owner, try as much as you can to avoid employee lawsuits by taking steps and measures to keep them safe, happy and healthy.