Employment lawsuits are expensive for the businesses involved and can do incalculable damage to a company’s reputation. If the local news media hears about an employment lawsuit, the story might start to gain traction on social media. Both customers and talented professionals that work for an organization might choose not to do business with the company because of an employment law issue.
Every organization can benefit from protecting itself from lawsuits brought by workers and handling them efficiently when they do arise. Protecting against employee lawsuits is easier when one recognizes the issues most likely to lead to a lawsuit.
1. Discrimination and harassment
Federal and state laws protect workers from mistreatment on the job. They shouldn’t have to tolerate bad jokes or social ostracization because of their race, sex, religion or other protected characteristics.
Additionally, those characteristics should not influence someone’s employment opportunities. Companies should make choices about who they hire and how much they pay based on someone’s skill and job performance, not on factors outside of their control.
Workers who believe that they have endured harassment from coworkers or discrimination from the company may pursue a lawsuit to fight back.
2. Employer retaliation
There are numerous activities that have protection under federal law. Employers cannot punish workers for unionizing or discussing their wages with one another. Filing a workers’ compensation claim or speaking up about safety concerns are typically also protected activities.
If a worker believes that the discipline they faced was a reflection not of their job performance but rather of their choice to discuss concerns about the business, they might try to claim that the company retaliated against them illegally.
3. Wage and hour issues
There are numerous rules that govern how much a worker should receive in their paycheck. If employees believe that a company has violated their rights, they may pursue a lawsuit demanding bonuses, unpaid overtime or wages that they alleged the company denied them.
Workers making allegations against a business can lead to expensive court proceedings and public commentary that damages a brand’s reputation. Organizations that understand the issues that cause many employment lawsuits can make use of better internal practices and contracts to minimize their risk of litigation.
Avoiding and properly responding to lawsuits brought by employees can help organizations to better protect their profit margins and reputations.