Minimize the Risks of Facing Employee Litigation with These Essential Tips
When you’ve founded a successful startup and are focused on building on that success and taking your business to the next level, legal concerns may not be at the top of your concerns, and the potential of getting sued by your employees is probably even further down. But even new enterprises can face employee litigation; here’s what you can do to mitigate the risks of such an event.
Clear Written Policies & Documentation
A business of any scale would do well to have a proper employee handbook. At a minimum, a good handbook will contain clearly stated company policies, operating procedures, and job expectations. It’s an effective way of condensing all the important information about your company – your vision and manner of working – along with all the applicable labor laws.
Not only does an employee handbook help to bring new employees up to speed and provide an overview of your operations, it covers your bases in the legal realm.
The pertinent laws regarding compensation and benefits, or workplace behavior, and the expected performance standards and code of conduct are all written in detail and made available to each and every employee, so that in the event of litigation there’s no question that you have effectively and clearly communicated the relevant policies.
Proper & Systematic Management
You, and the other leaders of your organization, play perhaps the most crucial role in preventing any incidents which could lead to employees filing a lawsuit against your company.
A system of periodic employee evaluation should be implemented so that any performance-affecting issues can be identified, discussed, and addressed in a timely manner; feedback and open conversation can prevent incidents from escalating and get your employees on the right track.
If problems persist, then progressive disciplinary actions can be taken in line with company procedure (and make sure to document everything, of course).
Properly trained managers will have a basic awareness of the company’s various legal obligations when handling employees, without having to consult the HR team.
Beyond that, online employment law courses are available so that people in a leadership position can brush up on their knowledge in their spare time.
Give Voice To Complaints
Many employees who feel they may have received unfair treatment don’t immediately hire a lawyer and seek to sue their employer. That course of action can be at least as difficult and costly to them as it is to the company, if not more so.
But if you don’t give your employees a chance to voice their concerns, you may be leaving them with no other option.
It’s vital to ensure that employees have a standard and documented process of filing internal complaints without fear of retaliation. De-escalating issues isn’t simply about keeping a lid on potential trouble, though; as an employer, you must see to it that every complaint is treated fairly and with due diligence and that actual steps are taken to address any wrongdoing.
If you demonstrate that you act to protect your employees’ rights, you’ll avoid much more severe costs in the form of legal claims, union actions, and damages to your company’s image and reputation.
Getting sued by your employees is never a pleasant – or inexpensive – process for either side. While you can’t foresee such an event or guarantee it will never happen, you can certainly prepare yourself and minimize the risks with the right measures, especially when it comes to employee litigation.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, UnSplash and Pexels.
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