A most crucial role of all business leaders is performance management. Appropriate goals and regular reviews are critical in ensuring that employees understand their obligations. The manner in which you communicate with employees significantly affects their performance and any efforts directed towards service improvement. Getting this relationship wrong will often lead to employee related lawsuits.
Currently, individuals resort to lawsuits to address wrongs at the workplace. According to statistics, wrongful termination lawsuits have increased exponentially over the recent past. Although many of these claims might be groundless, typically, employees resort to lawsuits because of a number of reasons. Given this fact, workplace issues that employees may sue for include harassment, unfair dismissal, discrimination, unsafe work conditions, wage, hour, and work rights violations.
A. Reasons Why Employees Sue
As such, it is vitally important for employers to maintain proper documentation and conduct frequent performance reviews. In this regard, here are our top six reasons why employees sue when terminated.
1. Indiscriminate Lay Offs
According to employment law, despite being an employer you cannot fire at will. A majority of employees perceive themselves as brilliant workers. So, if they get fired for a mysterious reason, they will contrive a reason or an employment lawyer will. Ensure you have a solid reason for terminating an employee.
2. Firing an Employee without Performance Audit Trails
This is similar to the lack of a convincing reason for firing an employee. It is important that human resource managers and supervisors accumulate a poor performance audit trail before terminating an employee. For this reason, it will be easier to convince a labour law court and judge accordingly.
3. Inopportune Timing
To illustrate this, assume that an employee internally files a complaint against a supervisor or manager. Subsequent to this, the employee is reprimanded for an unrelated event. In this instance, an employment lawyer will have a field day in court relating these two events. Before disciplining employees who have lodged complaints, it is important that you have the necessary documentation.
4. Slow Internal Processes
Employees expect employers to investigate any as well as all reported complaints thoroughly. If not done right away, provide the reasons as to why. In addition to that, be sure to inform the employee of when investigations can possibly begin.
5. Inappropriate Response
Employment law in Canada requires that employers respond to inquiries regarding employee complaints expeditiously and thoughtfully as well as treat complainants courteously. In the case of late responses or harassment of an employee, the courts will address this during the trial. For this reason, it is important that you have the right attitude and disposition when handling employee complaints.
6. Policy Non-Compliance
A majority of companies rely on internal training and policies as a defence against complaints. Failure to prove that supervisors adhered to policy and applied training, however, can significantly affect a lawsuit’s outcome. It is important, therefore, to ensure that managers and supervisors adhere to policies and apply training when handling employee complaints.
B. Mitigating Lawsuits
As a manager or business owner, you have likely experienced this or will in the near future. One approach to mitigating costs associated with employee lawsuits is insurance. Keep it in mind, though, if you use it your premiums will increase or your insurer might drop you. It is critical, then, that your HR and legal department equips management with the appropriate legal know-how and training. Visit Whitten & Lublin to learn more information.
Typically, employee lawsuits may arise from failure to follow the proper complaints resolution procedures, policies, or practices. Always be prepared. Being prepared, however, does not imply you won’t get sued, but it can help significantly mitigate the costs and duration involved in defending your business, company, or organization.