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Top 7 Ways to Reduce Employment Lawsuits
By Pamela Parker
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Employee complaints cost employers big in time, money, employee productivity and public image. The best ways to reduce your risks are pretty easy. Here are the seven easiest things you can do for a quick human resources check-up that will have the biggest pay-off in reducing the risk of your employees going outside your company to complain about problems.
- Make it a policy to always let your employees state their side of a situation to a supervisor or manager, and make sure you fairly consider what they have to say. Employees who feel they have been treated fairly are far less likely to file employment complaints.
- Have a policy that clearly states that harassment on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, age or ?? will not be tolerated. The policy should give specific instructions to employees who want to complain about harassment, and should allow the complaint to be made to an alternate person in case the point person is actually the person about whom the employee wants to complain.
- Review the gender, race, and age makeup of employees in different job categories. If a concentration of any type of employee is found in a job category, investigate to make sure there is no inadvertent discrimination that is directing employees to certain types of positions.
- Require all supervisors to have a discussion with any employee who requests an accommodation of any type to determine if the request is related to a medical need, a disability, a religious observance, or to any inappropriate conduct by a co-worker that might need investigation. Requests for any of those reasons may be protected by law and may require the employer to take certain steps before making a decision.
- Require supervisors to keep a written record of all conversations with employees that include evaluative statements. There are many times when you will need reliable information about what has been said to your employees.
- Require any proposed decision to terminate an employee to be reviewed by another manager or supervisor for red flags. Require those red flags to be run down before any final decision to terminate is made. This is where your written records of conversations with employees will be invaluable.
- Strictly enforce work hours for non-exempt employees. Do not allow office employees who arrive early or stay late to work without approved overtime. If overtime is not approved, do not allow the employee to work during that time. An employer who simply looks the other way will be liable for back pay and penalties.
Pamela Parker is an attorney who represents both employers and employees, giving her a unique view of what causes employees to sue and how employers can best avoid problems. thepeoplelawyer.com
Article Submitted On: November 10, 2004