Preventing Employee Litigation Part 1
Over the next two posts, we're going to provide 11 tips to help your contracting company hopefully prevent these types of lawsuits from ever happening.
How to protect yourself:
Below are 11 simple steps to help protect your company from employee-related lawsuits. Most of these recommended tactics were taken from a fantastic article written by Sheryl Halpern, an employment law specialist with Much Shelist.
Tactic 1: Learn to Communicate
Regular, candid communication with employees is essential, not only for the working relationship to be effective, but also to prevent surprises that often lead to employee claims. This means (1) stating expectations through job descriptions, handbooks, and personnel meetings and (2) providing open, honest feedback through performance reviews.
Tactic 2: Educate the Workforce
Educating managers, supervisors and rank-and-file employees is critical to avoiding workplace liabilities.
Management should be trained on how to respond if an employee brings a complaint to them and employees should be educated on their rights. Educating employees on their rights is very important because they will have a much more difficult time asserting their rights were not respected or they did not understand them.
Tactic 3: Maintain Flexibility
While employers should strive to treat similar cases similarly, they should remember that it is equally important to exercise discretion in appropriate circumstances. The key to success is striking the right balance between the two.
Tactic 4: Document, Document, Document
Documentation can mean the difference between a good defense and no defense at all. This means creating and maintaining thorough records of disciplinary and performance issues. Beware, however, that poor documentation may actually be worse than no documentation at all. Accordingly, employee records must be complete and accurate.
Tactic 5: Acknowledge Employee Concerns
This tactic is really as simple as it sounds. Often, a manager doesn't even need to act on an employee's concerns, as long as he or she simply validates them. Employees need to believe that they are being heard and that their opinions matter. Sometimes, just letting employees know their managers are listening is half the battle...and can avoid a battle down the road.
Tactic 6: Recognize and Reward Good Performance
It is very important to express appreciation to your employees for the work they are performing. A simple “thank you” can help in employee feel recognized, appreciated, and it improves moral, which in turn will increase productivity and decrease claims.