by Rob Wilson, CEO of Employco USA
When running an office, business owners face a range of challenges, including the risk of a lawsuit when office politics go awry. One way employers can minimize the risk of messy lawsuits is by outsourcing human resources tasks to ensure an established protocol is in place.
No matter what size your business is, having a defined human resources department and code of conduct is necessary. For small businesses, it can be much easier to outsource the human resources tasks and ensure you have an established process for maintaining the highest level of office ethics.
I suggests employers be prepared for the following employment breaches:
Unfortunately, discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, age, ethnicity or gender still exists in many workplace environments. Employees and employers should be aware of what is forbidden, steps for reporting and protocol for workplace discrimination. Lack of an established plan can result in long and expensive lawsuits for employers.
Whether it stems from a male or female employee, sexual harassment can become very sticky very quickly. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes that any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment. The best way to eliminate sexual harassment is through a prevention program that establishes a clear process for steps to take when reporting and the consequences.
There are many regulations to follow when terminating an employee. Before deciding to follow through with a termination, employers must make sure the termination is valid and not based on discrimination or retaliation. Then the employer should follow a defined procedure that they follow with every terminated employee that explains the reason for firing and provides details of any severance packages or additional resources.
With Valentine’s Day hovering, relationships are at the forefront of many people’s minds. But what happens when cupid visits the office and romances blossom? Having an established workplace-relationship policy provides detailed protocol for the necessary steps to take so employers curb corporate liability.
It’s important to keep track of benefits including vacation days, healthcare or pension benefits and make sure each employee is receiving the same benefits. If any employee has an advantage over other employees, make sure there’s a valid reason, such as a longer tenure at the company.
As you can see, there are a lot of situations in the workplace that can lead to lawsuits for employers. Employers should have a handbook that details the protocol and expectations for each employment breach. If the resources aren’t available in-house, seek the help of an HR staffing outsourcing firm for maximum protection.
Rob Wilson is CEO of Employco USA, a human resource outsourcing company offering human resource related solutions for small to mid-sized businesses.