Great managers are skilled at connecting with employees and motivating them to work productively as part of a team. Having strong managers is essential for building your company’s profitability and reputation as a great place to work. However, even great managers, with the best of intentions, can inadvertently make mistakes that might expose your company to lawsuits and fines.
Employee lawsuits are an unfortunate reality in today’s workplace, and a source of concern to employers. Even a completely baseless suit can cost six figures to defend; if there’s merit behind the charges, the legal bills, fines, and settlement fees can ruin a small business. Your managers, who are the first line of employee contact, have the power to minimize some of that exposure.
Let’s take a look at five moves your managers can make to reduce your risk of a lawsuit.
1. Document Everything. This starts with the interview and extends to every aspect of management and supervisory functions. Remember, any document can potentially be used as a piece of evidence in the event of a lawsuit, so managers must be thorough. As an employer, stress the importance of documentation, provide forms and guidelines for managers to follow, and establish procedures for where and how long such documents will be stored, being sure to comply with any requirements set by law. Furthermore, ask your managers to be honest in all aspects of documentation. Many managers, for example, are tempted to gloss over areas of weakness in written performance reviews. While they may be motivated out of kindness toward the employee, they are actually putting their companies at risk in the event such an individual is eventually fired. In all cases, the records must be accurate.