In the age of digital activism and progressive social justice, companies are becoming ever weary of how they treat their employees. Infringements in company policies and other internal problems can result in employee lawsuits. While you should definitely spare no effort to create a good company policy and employee contract, lawsuits can still happen. When they do, having an aggressive legal defense attorney at your disposal can significantly increase your odds of a favorable outcome. Below are some of the most commonly reported employee lawsuits that businesses face:
- Negative treatment
No one enjoys being treated poorly. If an employee feels he or she is being degraded at work, such as through sexual harassment, being fired without reason, or otherwise treatment that could be considered dehumanizing, they may consider taking legal action.
2. Discrimination of Protected Activities
Employees are entitled to engage in certain activities that are protected under the law. One of these activities is whistleblowing, or informing the authorities about illegal activities in the workplace. Worker’s compensation is also protected by law: employers may not discriminate based on the injury or illness. If discrimination occurs, legal action may be taken by the employee and the law will be on their side.
3. Bad Managers
If you run a large business, you may not always be in touch with the interactions your employees are having with the managers. However, this does not stop you from being responsible for your managers’ actions. In many cases, stress, short staffing, or lack of resources may cause managers to behave negatively towards employees. In other more serious cases, managers may harass, belittle, or abuse employees. If this occurs, it is imperative to investigate and work with employees to ensure them that harassment and abuse will not be tolerated.
4. Failing to Enforce Policies Fairly
When employees are given an employee manual, they expect that all policies will be enforced fairly. If one employee is cited for violating a standard of behavior, but sees that other employees are violating the same standard without repercussion, they may see this as unethical. If the issue is not addressed, the employee may retaliate with the full force of the law.
- Termination After Positive Performance Reviews
When running a business, it’s important to be consistent with your performance reviews. For instance, if an employee receives generally positive performance reviews, but is then terminated for poor performance, he or she will likely believe that it is due to some other reason, such as discrimination. If the employee suspects discrimination, he or she may consult a lawyer. Generally, it is important to give warning in advance about an employee’s performance before moving on to termination.
- Failing to Respond to an EEOC Charge
If you are a business owner receiving notice of a complaint from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), take it seriously. If you are being contacted by the EEOC, most likely one of your job applicants felt discriminated during the hiring process. Applicant discrimination can elevate to a lawsuit. When dealing with a complaint, your communication with the EEOC should be both timely and cooperative.
Speak with a Gainesville Employment Attorney
As a business owner, ensuring that all complaints that your HR department receives is dealt with quickly and efficiently is essential to avoiding lawsuits. Additionally, it is wise to consult an employment attorney to help with handling employee complaints, employee contract drafting, and other legal matters. For more information on how we can help, contact The Bauer Law Group at (352) 325-2151.