Employment laws vary across the world, but the overall goals of protecting employers and employees are generally the same. Lawsuits are a common threat to businesses that fail to take care of their employees and provide a safe, equal opportunity working environment. Costs associated with harassment, discrimination, and retaliation continue to skyrocket, and insurance coverage only addresses a portion of the threat.
Companies that want to limit their risks of a claim or allegation against their practices or the actions of another employee can take proactive measures.
1. Informed Hiring Practices.
When crafting a job description, each position should have clearly defined expectations of performance and skill requirements. Each application should include a statement of equal opportunity, but also include an applicant’s signed acknowledgment of an “at-will” employment position. This can protect a company if the need arises to terminate the employment at any time and with or without reason.
Consulting with an employment lawyer in Toronto can help you craft statements with strong wording that can stand up in court if a claim arises. Keep the application free from age indicator items, such as birthday or year of high school graduation. Having a strong screening program that can move past candidates unsuited for the job prior to hiring can also limit wrongful termination suits.
2. Establish Employee Expectations.
Your company should have an employee handbook in place to establish expectations of employee behaviors and responsibilities. These should include the company’s zero-tolerance position with instances of harassment, violence, discrimination, or substance abuse. It should outline the processes for reporting suspicious behaviors or violations of outlined areas, as well as how occurrences will be resolved.
The different types of harassment should be clearly defined, in addition to identifying to whom and how a complaint can be reported. Make sure your employees are there is no fear of retribution if they report a threat or incident.
3. Create Your Backup.
Often a company endures allegations that they cannot defend. Keeping clear and detailed records of employee performance, complaints that have been lodged, and company action steps can be crucial to surviving a lawsuit. Employee reviews should never be treated as incidental meetings. What the manager and employee say should be documented, in addition to the specific goals that are set or areas of deficiency that need attention.
These three areas can help your company minimize the threats of employee lawsuits, although it won’t remove them completely. Proactive hiring practices, clear expectations, and well-documented records can help an employment lawyer defend your case in court, improving the potential for a verdict in your company’s favor.