Every new hire can significantly benefit an organization. The right salesperson could bring in a huge amount of revenue, while an executive might help with a rebranding effort that changes a company for the better. Unfortunately, workers are also potential sources of liability. Businesses are responsible for the mistakes that workers make during their shifts, and they also have some responsibility to workers who develop medical issues because of their employment. There is also the possibility that a current or former employee will file a lawsuit against an organization.
Employee lawsuits can be very expensive and can also do lasting damage to a company’s reputation. Those who recognize the leading causes of employee lawsuits will be in a better position to prevent litigation from damaging the organizations they help run.
Wage and hour violations
There are a host of federal and state laws creating rules regarding the wages that workers earn. From allegations that a company forced workers to do part of their job without compensation to claims that a no-overtime policy violated their rights, there are many reasons that workers sometimes pursue litigation because a business has failed to pay them in full for the wages they believe they deserve. Even expectations about bonuses can sometimes lead to lawsuits.
Discrimination or harassment
There are rules prohibiting employers from considering a variety of different characteristics when deciding who to hire, promote or fire. An individual’s race, age, religion, sex or health status should not influence their employment. They also should not have to face harassment from coworkers, management or customers because of those protected characteristics. Workers who believe the company has wrongfully considered certain characteristics or allowed harassment to go on unchecked sometimes pursue lawsuits against the company.
It is never pleasant to let a worker go, but sometimes that is exactly what management must do. It is important to terminate workers who break the law or consistently have performance issues. Allowing such behavior to go on unchecked can affect company morale and lead to significant organizational liability. Other times, companies must engage in large-scale staff reductions due to economic setbacks or possibly a recent merger. Workers who feel upset about losing their jobs sometimes attempt to claim that the company violated their rights by firing them. Wrongful termination lawsuits can involve a worker demanding their position back or compensation for the financial impact of their job loss.
Careful employment practices can go a long way toward protecting businesses from litigation filed by frustrated employees. Addressing the top sources of worker lawsuits, by seeking legal guidance as necessary, can help businesses minimize bad publicity and legal costs.