The last thing an employer needs is a lawsuit. Yet, when it comes to employment law, it is easy to find yourself in a difficult situation, which has trouble written all over it. Here are 6 areas where mistakes are often made by unprepared managers resulting in a messy and costly suit:
- Hiring Process: it all begins here. Asking inappropriate interview questions, making a badly chosen, but seemingly “harmless” comment that discriminates, giving an insensitive reason for rejecting a candidate, or simply making bad hire will land you in big trouble. Train all interviewers in proper interviewing techniques and hiring procedures.
- Negligent hiring and retention: when you know things about a candidate or employee, such as their having violent behavior or a dangerous driving record and you still hire or retain them and then they commit a similar infraction (ex. strike an employee or get into an accident driving a company car), you may be facing a lawsuit. Check references before making a hire decision. Address performance problems immediately.
- Discrimination in employment: Intentional or even unintentional acts of discrimination will get you into trouble. Audit your polices, procedures, pay policies, hiring, promotion and training practices to make sure all your management systems compliant. Train you managers.
- Discipline process: There’s nothing that will motivate an employee to call an attorney faster than a supervisor botching a disciplinary meeting. Be consistent in applying your policies, train your managers in having difficult conversations, and review all situations with upper management before meeting with the employee.
- Evaluation process: Giving a positive evaluation to a poor performer may help you avoid an uncomfortable appraisal interview, but rest assured, it is a recipe for disaster if you ever have to terminate that employee for performance. Give honest appraisals and train your manager on how to give appraisals.
- Firing process: There is no easy way to fire someone. When not done respectfully, employees nearly always want to strike back and a lawsuit is a great way to get even. Again, review all cases before approving a termination. Make sure the manager understands what needs to be done and how to do it. Include a second manager in the process to serve as a witness and to lend support.
Minimize the risks of employee lawsuits by implementing the recommendations outlined about. Managing is hard enough without adding a lawsuit. If you need assistance, give me a call for help.
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Are there other areas to avoid beyond these 6? Let us know in the comment section.