Don’t Be An Easy Target For Plaintiffs
By Laura McElroy

Employer business pressures often collide with employee rights to organize and sue for a wide variety of unanticipated situations. Respect to a changing workforce, traditional labor laws and written policies keeps everyone on one accord. Stay updated and informed to decrease the odds your workers or superiors will become your plaintiffs.

Benefits of Peace

Lawsuits steal time and energy from life’s priorities. Waging a strong defense is costly even if you manage to win a suit against you or to have it dismissed. Attorneys fees, court costs and time lost from income can make such victories feel slight.

If you sense discontent brewing in your business or workplace, open channels of communication immediately. Consult staff members or associates in closer contact with a potential plaintiff and let them help you decide on a calm approach.

Put Everything In Writing

Handshake contracts bring you in close range of a potential plaintiff. Without audio or visual recording, verbal contracts and agreements fall apart quickly. Never exchange money, work and services without written or electronic evidence of itemized terms you agree to and expect others to uphold.

The mere existence of written documents and contracts are formidable deterrents to false allegations and fabrications. Other simple methods quickly formalize agreements.

  • Email qualifies as a written document of record. Keep folders organized and archives set for several years to account for statutes of limitiation.
  • A notary public can verify statements, documents and signatures a court of law must respect.
  • Employ trusted confidantes (staff, attorneys and accountants) as witnesses when you need confirmation of agreements but individuals resist signing contracts.

Understand “Gig Economy” Laws and Classifications

Traditional labor laws may not cover everything you must know about workers’ rights in the digital, technical and app gig economy age. You can comply with minimum wages by state, pay overtime and keep workers under hourly limits but still draw lawsuits. Some states have already begun the wave of legislation to afford freelancers and contractors employee classifications and protections.

Be sure of salary, taxes and employee benefits savings if you staff workers this way. Whenever you have confusion about classifications, go with traditional staffing models to be safe.

Mitigate Discrimination, Harassment and Wrongful Termination Lawsuits

Many employers keep no lengthy records of poor performance, productivity or insubordination until bitter end stages when terminations are unavoidable. By the time a plaintiff returns with a claim, you could be at a disadvantage in the rising number of employment-related lawsuits for discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination.

These cases can take years to resolve and drain years of worth of profits, shuttering small businesses and downsizing profitable companies.

  • Employment practices liability insurance protects you in the event of these claims.
  • Written policies should address these areas and all staff should sign off on receiving them.
  • Be careful with casual conversation, jokes and personal relating.

When To Seek Counsel

Ideally, you retain an attorney on a full-time or as-needed basis just for best business practices. If not, start now. When a complainer threatens to sue you, take it seriously.

You can avoid draining lawsuits. Combine organization, meticulous records and precaution to communicate steely confidence plaintiffs will hesitate to try to cash in on.

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