No business is completely safe from lawsuits. If you are managing a business, understanding litigation risks is important so you can be prepared should the unexpected happen. It is becoming more and more common for disgruntled employees who have a grievance against management to drag their supervisors into litigation. Should individual managers find themselves named in a lawsuit, they need to know how to protect themselves. For this reason, anyone in a management position should be aware of the law and should adhere strictly to both federal and state laws regarding employment regulation. Not only can a lawsuit ruin your career, but it can also impact your business’s overall reputation and bottom line. Here are a few things managers should keep in mind to avoid legal problems.
Be Familiar with State and Federal Labor Laws
Employee discrimination and harassment are among the most common lawuits business managers might face. Therefore, before implementing policies in the workplace, make sure you are familiar with laws regarding workplace harassment, employee privacy violations, and discrimination. Be mindful of your actions and what you say, as a simple joke told in poor taste could result in a workplace harassment lawsuit.
Hire an HR Consultant
Small and medium sized businesses are at a greater risk of employment lawsuits because they often don’t have a legal department on staff. Hiring a human resources consultant will help ensure your business remains compliant with all local and federal laws. Furthermore, they act as a liaison between employees and upper management.
Proactively Address Discrimination and Harassment
Make sure employees understand the expectations of your organization regarding proper behavior in the workplace. Draft an employee handbook that clearly outlines what is considered unacceptable behavior and address issues such as discrimination and harassment. Furthermore, provide employee training about handling these issues so they can be addressed before they become lawsuits.
Put Agreements in Writing and Keep Accurate Records
Signed agreements and good record keeping can be a lifesaver if you are being sued. Things like employee contracts, supplier agreements, and sales agreements should always be in formal writing. This will act as a reference should your business get sued. Furthermore, you should also keep accurate records of employee behavior, should there ever be a wrongful termination lawsuit. Having accurate and consistent records documenting the employee’s behavior could save you from a lot of legal problems.
Implement a Complaint and Discipline Plan
Establishing a proper method for employee complaints will give you extra protection, should an employee take legal action against you. You will be able to prove whether or not the employee filed a formal before seeking legal action. This can also help establish a formal discipline policy in the event that an employee files a wrongful termination lawsuit.