While owning a business is often fulfilling, entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. Regardless of the type of business you own, there is a wide range of employee grievances that can arise. Being prepared for any claims that come your way can help protect your business. Sitting down with a business lawyer and creating a plan to prevent and deal with employment claims can give you peace of mind and save you a lot of time and money.
Common Employee Claims
Whether an employee brings an internal complaint, EEOC claim, OHA complaint, or lawsuit, it is critical to be aware of potential pitfalls. Some common employment-related claims include:
- Wage, hour, and overtime claims
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims
- Workplace discrimination
- Sexual harassment
- Wrongful termination
- Personal injury
Regardless of whether you settle or win a claim or lawsuit, they can be costly and take up time that could be spent running your business.
Steps to Take to Protect Your Business
Create a comprehensive employee handbook that outlines specific policies and guidelines. Business succession planning attorneys often recommend that employers create guidelines and policies in addition to creating a succession plan. This helps employees understand what is expected of them and can protect your business from employment litigation. It is particularly important to address issues such as discrimination and harassment, and to include policies regarding attendance, tardiness, time off, and how to report any complaints to HR or management.
Clearly define the responsibilities of each position. Clarifying tasks and the roles that each employee will play helps avoid misunderstandings and can improve employee satisfaction.
Maintain proper records and personnel files. One of the most important elements of defending yourself in any lawsuit is evidence. Properly documenting an employee’s hours, pay, performance and any complaints makes it much easier should an investigation be necessary.
Provide proper training. In certain industries such as construction, ensuring your staff is properly trained can be a matter of life or death. Employees who are properly trained and aware of procedures for all types of scenarios are less likely to make errors, become injured, or violate a company’s code of conduct.
Create employment contracts. Depending on the circumstances, employment contracts can be valuable tools that protect both you and your employees. They can be particularly useful when it comes to protecting sensitive or proprietary information. Whether you want to create a basic non-compete agreement or a more complex contract, having an attorney for contract review is vital.
What is Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)?
Although workers’ compensation, general liability, and property insurance protect your business from certain types of liability, they do not safeguard you from employment-related lawsuits. EPLI is designed specifically to provide coverage against claims related to discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, and other workplace-related issues. If you own a business in Pennsylvania, talk to your business lawyer in West Chester to find out if EPLI may be a good option for you.
Contact a Business Attorney
Carosella & Associates can help you set up safeguards that protect you from liability, and our seasoned business attorneys also fight for your interests when litigation is necessary. Our full-service bankruptcy law firm and lawyers for wills and trusts can help you through tough financial times and assist you with all your estate planning needs as well.