Today people are quick to hire an attorney when they feel that they have been wronged in some way, making businesses vulnerable for employee lawsuits. The most common workplace lawsuits are founded on discrimination, discriminatory termination, retaliation and harassment. Employment related lawsuits can quickly become very costly for a company.
Employers have the responsibility of providing a safe workplace, free of discrimination for their employees. By establishing policies and procedures, companies can head off any future lawsuits. The easiest, yet often overlooked, way to set this groundwork is by documenting the company’s policies and procedures in the form of an employee handbook. The handbook should include the company’s policies on job requirements, the discipline process, sexual harassment prevention, performance management and any other topics that would be relevant to employment.
There are many horror stories of dismissed employees suing for wrongful termination. As a company you should ensure that your managers are trained in the process of terminating an employee. There should be a clearly outlined course of action for reporting misconduct, providing written warnings as necessary, and reflecting sub-par performance in an employee’s evaluation. A common mistake is to leave room in the evaluation for subjectivity. By creating a standard for evaluations, not only can a business eliminate the possibility for subjectivity, but they are also making the expectations of employees very clear. This documentation will minimize the risk that an employee will sue for wrongful termination.
It is critical for an organization to document its policies and procedures. Taking the time to do this now can prevent lawsuits in the future. Written policies and procedures will give managers and supervisors the tools to effectively manage situations that arise, as outlined by the organization. This can mean the difference between managing issues in-house versus ending in a costly lawsuit.