There’s nothing like a lawsuit to disrupt business and tarnish your business’ spotless reputation. It’s simple to say, “Just don’t do anything wrong that would prompt employees to file an employment lawsuit,” but nothing is ever that simple. Below are tips to help you lower your risk of being named in a labor lawsuit.
First and foremost, you must educate the entirety of your management team concerning what actions are considered discriminatory. Some of your team may truly believe that making sexist jokes, for example, is okay as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. Run a seminar or send out a memo periodically to remind and update management on your company’s procedures regarding discrimination, employment laws, and the like.
Establish an Anti-Discrimination Policy
Establish an anti-discrimination policy at your business. Whether or not you have an employee handbook, ensure that every single one of your employees is made aware of the policy, understands it, and understands the procedures for reporting cases of discrimination, whether they or another are the one to actually experience it.
Ensure Your Business Environment is Positive and Open
People who don’t feel comfortable speaking with their manager or boss about a discriminatory situation are likely to quit and sue without ever addressing managers about the situation. An open and positive business environment in which employees feel they can discuss their issues with their employers is imperative to lessening your business’ risk of being named in an employment suit.
From the beginning of an employee’s employment to the end, you and your management team should document everything; this includes everything from complaints filed by or against an employee, managers notes of employees coming in and/or leaving the office late, poor job performance reviews, etc. Fired employees will sometimes file a lawsuit simply because you fired them. And, if you don’t have documentation proving that you had just cause for firing them, then you have no substantial proof that such reasons existed to begin with; it will be your word against his/her word.
Be Legal and Ethical
This seems pretty straight forward. Treat your employees right, run your business ethically, and do things according to the law; if you won’t do these things simply because they are the right things to do, then do it so that you don’t give disgruntled employees leverage in a lawsuit situation. Here are some examples of how you should run your company and treat you employees:
- Pay employee when you promised them you would.
- Pay them legally; don’t pay employees “under the table.”
- Give them their promised vacation time and benefits.
- Give employees raises, promotions, and job titles they deserve.
- Don’t encourage or allow employees to work unpaid.
Madeline Johnson is a writer and blogger. After graduating from the University of Texas, she began her career as a freelance writer and now focuses on topics ranging from business to law. At the moment, she spends much of her time writing about slip and fall lawsuits, to provide those with no legal experience information on the legal process.