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Be on the Lookout for Workplace Lawsuits

| Oct 13, 2014 | Uncategorized |

If you are employing others as part of a business it is important to make sure that youdon’t engage in unethical or illegal practices. Some of the most common are listed below:

1. Discrimination

As an employer, you are required under the Civil Rights Act and Americans With Disabilities Act to provide equal opportunity to all workers. Leave your opinions about gender, race, religion, and disability at home, because offering a promotion or improved working conditions to an employee based on one of these factors is illegal. Make all managers aware of this policy, which can prevent your company from becoming a breeding ground for prejudice.

2. Harassment

Many employees face verbal abuse or harassment from a supervisor or coworker. Additionally, sexual harassment may occur if an employee feels threatened sexually by a person of any other gender. At the first sign of unwanted touching, comments, or bullying, make sure to investigate the employees involved. Your company could still be at risk if an employee feels management knew of the improper treatment and made no attempt to stop it. You can reduce your risk of being sued for workplace harassment if you regularly educate employees about harassment and implement a zero-tolerance policy.

3. Workplace Injury

Workplace injury is very common, with over 3 million incidents reported each year. Most injuries will be minor, and the injured party will not seek any damage compensation if it is covered by their liability insurance. However, if you contest a claim without evidence beyond a doubt that the victim is being untruthful in his or her claim, or employer negligence led to the injuries sustained, you may be at fault and responsible for additional damage compensation. Your employee may bring you to court, leading to both negative press and expensive courtroom costs. To avoid this, make sure that you repair all safety hazards immediately and follow all regulations in your city regarding building materials and signage.

4. Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination complaints may occur if an at-will employee is fired for a discriminatory reason, breach-of-contract occurs, or the employee believes the firing is retaliation for previous whistleblowing.Before firing an employee, ensure that they are not under a contract which says they cannot be fired with exceptions for gross misconduct. You should also take care to investigate all employee complaints seriously, as many employees who are fired feel the company wanted them to keep quiet about office misdoings. The employee may receive lost wages and punitive damages if their case is valid and taken to trial.

5. Wage and Hour Disputes

Ensure all your employees are able to legally work at your company, and be aware of any restrictions that may require them to have limited hours (a notable example being teenage employees still attending school). You also need to ensure that you are meeting the minimum wage. Additional conflicts arise when contractors are treated as employees, off-the-clock hours are not properly recorded, or paid breaks are not given. Make sure that for every four hours of work you give employees the appropriate break, and avoid overseeing contractors with so much control they can sue for not being paid the fair wage of an employee. Off-the-clock hour systems must be properly recorded so overtime wages and early/late clock-ins are accounted for.

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