Being sued by one of your employees might as well be the end of your business, especially in the case of small and medium companies. Obviously, it is because such a lawsuit puts the health of the company you’ve built on the highest stakes possible.
If we take a look at some statistics, we’ll see that, in recent years, this type of lawsuits has gone up by 400%. However, you can still protect yourself and your company if you know exactly how to approach the situation.
Therefore, in today’s article, we’ll talk about everything that a business owner needs to know in terms of being sued by one of their employees.
The Lawsuits that You Need to Guard Yourself Against
First of all, instead of waiting to be surprised by one of your employees filing a lawsuit against you, you should always acknowledge the risk of such thing happening and take the necessary steps to protect your company.
Here are the most common and defensible types of lawsuits that you need to look out for.
- Personal Injury – workplaces injuries are common; employees may get hurt in an accident or develop chronic pain conditions due to poor work conditions. These causes make the personal injury lawsuits the most common ones out there. In such situations, it is important that you actively work on improving workplace safety – via training, responding to safety issues, and embracing a culture of safety. By doing so, not only that you can protect your staff from injury, but you also avoid negligence allegations and such.
- Overtime – under the Fair Labour Standards Act, employers must always monitor all of the hours their company’s staff works and pay the required overtime when needed. Obviously, when an employee demands overtime pay for the extra hours they put in and you fail to pay them or modify the time records, you may end up sued and in big trouble.
- Discrimination – given that this is a major issue in nowadays’ society, you must make sure that your company, including you and your employees, does not discriminate others within the workplace. For example, an employee may think that they were refused a promotion because of their race, age, sexual orientation, or such – case in which they can file in a lawsuit against you. The protected classes, under the law, include national origin, color, race, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion, veteran status, and family or marital status.
- Harassment – harassment of any types can easily evolve into a lawsuit. Even if sexual harassment is the most common charge of this type, employees can also file a lawsuit against you if they’ve been emotionally or verbally harassed within the workplace. Responding to such things is important, as most harassment issues are usually settled in HR before the initiation of a lawsuit.
- Wrongful Termination – naturally, when you terminate someone’s contract, you must have good reasons for doing so. Any unlawful termination might come with a lawsuit.
How to Avoid a Lawsuit
First of all, it is important that your company has the required resources to deal with any of the aforementioned types of lawsuits. For example, a head and brain injury attorney can help you settle the issues with an injured employee so that they wouldn’t file a lawsuit against you.
But, what more can you do?
- Train Your Managers – all of your company’s supervisors and managers should be trained to avoid any type of issues that may lead to a lawsuit, such as workplace discrimination, bullying, as well as worker safety.
- Document Everything – it is recommended that every interaction with a certain employee is documented, from their first interview to their termination. Therefore, whenever you have to make a decision – in terms of promotion or termination – or protect yourself against a lawsuit, you can rely on the information you have collected so far.
- Comply with the Local, Federal, and State Laws – this goes without saying; you should be familiar with all of the laws regarding discrimination and whatnot.
- If Policies Change, Update Your Rules – every employer must adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act, federal wage and hour laws, as well as state wage and hour laws. You always have to consult these and make sure that your company applies any changes made by them.
The Bottom Line
As you have noticed, in order to avoid being sued by your employees, you have to take the necessary measures in terms of workplace safety, security, as well as health – both mental and physical.
Before taking into account the possibility of a lawsuit, you have to make sure that your company has nothing to be afraid of. Also, keep in mind that most lawsuits come with baseless allegations and might not pose any harm to you or your company – case in which you have to remain calm and not panic about your company’s future.