HR can play many roles in an organization, but few are more important than preventing employee lawsuits. Incidents of workers suing their employer seem to be on the rise, and they can cost companies a great deal of money as well as hurt company reputations. Here are four critical roles HR can play in avoiding such lawsuits.
1. Policy Makers
HR directors should work to establish a comprehensive set of policies governing employee conduct on the job. While it’s important to cover every aspect of employment that affects job performance and company culture, it’s just as important that these policies should be applied and enforced consistently. There should be no hint of favoritism that could lead to accusations of discrimination or inappropriate relationships. Employees will not be happy with a company that violates its own policies.
2. Compliance Officer
It’s important that your company policies are in compliance with regulations as stated in the latest updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employer is responsible for seeing that both federal and state laws are followed, including wage and hourly pay laws. Failure to pay overtime, provide maternity leave, or act on discrimination or harassment issues can leave your company subject to lawsuits and penalties, even if an innocent mistake was made.
3. Record Keepers
You should maintain a complete file on each employee, starting with their resume and including every performance review and disciplinary action. If a problem employee decides to seek litigation against your company, a thorough paper trail will help to prove your case, especially if the records bear that employee’s own signature. The ability to demonstrate that hiring or firing practices were performed fairly and in total alignment with both all laws and company policies can be essential to winning a case.
4. Workforce Training
Making written policies accessible to every employee is important, as well as training managers to strictly observe company policies and HR guidelines. Even a single manager promoting an unqualified person could leave you open to litigation. Many disputes can be resolved in-house, but problem employees determined to pursue legal damages can put the company’s future at risk. Either way, it’s important to seek out the guidance of business lawyers from The Weisblatt Law Firm or a similar institution near you so that you’re fully prepared.
Whether your company is sued for real or imagined grievances, the potential costs can be alarming. It’s crucial that HR lead the way in carrying out proactive policies to keep this from happening.