When you hire workers and try to treat them fairly, it can come as a shock to find yourself at the end of a complaint or lawsuit. Employee lawsuits are common, yet many could easily be avoided.
There are two things to remember when dealing with employees. First, you need a thorough understanding of state and federal employment laws. Everything you do must comply with these laws.
Second, the success of a workplace depends on a series of complex interpersonal relationships. People do not always act in logical ways. They do not always say what they mean or understand what someone is saying in the intended manner.
Communication and record-keeping is crucial to limit employee lawsuits
Let’s imagine you take on a new worker. On several occasions, one of your managers tells you about the worker’s poor timekeeping or inability to keep up with their colleagues. When you look at your half-year figures, you realize you need to cut staff, so the employee they always complain about seems an obvious choice.
A few weeks later, you get a complaint alleging unfair dismissal. On investigation, you find out that despite complaining to you about this employee, the manager never told the employee of their faults. Thus the worker thought they were doing OK, and getting fired came as a shock.
As a company, ensuring you write down your disciplinary procedure and share it with employees is crucial. When managers give official verbal or written warnings and record them, it allows the company to show the series of events that led up to firing someone. When the worker understands they are not meeting the required standards and understands what could happen next, they have a chance to take action or ask for help to improve. If you eventually decide to release them, it will come as less of a shock, and they will have less cause for complaint.