Workplace lawsuits have the potential to shut down even the most successful of businesses. Handling legal suits is very stressful and causes a lot of damage and financial loss for a company. Companies must stay up-to-date with the state’s employment laws in order to better protect themselves from legal trouble.
Being good to your employees is not enough. Many companies, despite staying alert and treating their employees well, have to face lawsuits. Going through a legal battle can drain all of the money from a company, leading it to bankruptcy.
Common Workplace Lawsuits
The most common lawsuits faced by companies are below to ensure that employers take necessary steps before its too late.
Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment is a major cause of toxicity within the workplace. Failing to handle it at the initial stage can result in a major lawsuit. Workplace harassment is of various types; it can either be offensive behavior or hostile speech and action. Some of the most common types include physical, personal, discriminatory, psychological, sexual, third-party harassment or cyber bullying. These are all types of harassment that have the potential of turning into a shameful lawsuit.
Wrongfully Terminating an Employee
Wrongful termination is a term that is commonly used to blanket the actions that paved the way for it. There are some cases where the employer fires an employee and violates the provisions of the contract. It is illegal and provides a solid ground for a lawsuit. If there was no employment contract, an employee is expected to prove that termination was illegal. The employee may present public policy violation, fraud, breach of good faith, or whistle blowing as the grounds for building the lawsuit against the employer.
Discrimination between Employees
Another very common workplace lawsuit in the United States is the discrimination of employees. There are certain protected classes on which an employee can file a lawsuit. The federally protected classes include race, gender, religion, pregnancy, genetic information, citizenship, age, national origin, familial status, disability, color and veteran status. The protected classes of state law vary with every state. In the case that there is no material evidence of discrimination, an employee will have to prove it occurred by providing evidence of their good performance and that the termination or demotion was a result of discrimination.
Improper Overtime Tracking
There is a federal law outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act that covers overtime pay requirements of hourly employees. A lawsuit can be presented if an employee does not get paid the correct overtime amount. Improper tracking of overtime hours is a major reason for an overtime lawsuit against a company.
Personal injury lawsuits are by far the most commonly occurring lawsuits. Facing a personal injury lawsuit is one of the biggest fears for any company. Injuries can happen at anytime and they can be somewhat unpreventable. Even if the injury is partially the employees fault, a company is still liable to pay for it. Any injury incurred by an employee when working within the scope of the job can result in a personal injury lawsuit.
These are the lawsuits that companies frequently face. It is important to keep a record of all of the little things happening around the workplace. Staying alert helps employers prevent legal suits against them, which not only damages the reputation of the company but can even lead to a complete shutdown.
Avoiding Workplace Lawsuits
Staying extra cautious is essential for employers. It helps to identify the problems that their employees are facing which could possibly result in a future lawsuit. The following are some ways of countering and preventing commonly occurring workplace lawsuits.
Distribution of Employee Handbook
An employee handbook is a perfect way to maintain discipline within an organization. Not only should a company distribute a handbook, but they should also review it with their employees regularly. A handbook helps companies keep their troubled employees in check and outlines a plan for disciplinary actions. By maintaining decorum within a company, issues such as harassment or any other violent activities tend to decrease.
Accurate Records of Employees
Besides avoiding lawsuits, maintaining strict records helps companies in numerous ways. Keeping track of the total working hours of employees, their performance, and all other data allows companies to avoid lawsuits. If a company faces a lawsuit based on overtime or wrongful termination, the gathered data can be used to prove certain points highlighted by an employer.
Purchasing Workers’ Compensation Insurance
The best solution for countering personal injury lawsuits is to provide workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance helps a company provide benefits to injured employees and even assists if an employee dies.
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