Many employers are looking for tips and advice to survive the maze of employment issues that come with having employees. While there are many important factors to consider, the following is my Top 10 List of ways to avoid litigation.
- Take a good hard look at your employment application, as well as all other employment work related documents that an outsider may look at and say the documents seem to be biased or slanted.
- Your applications and any offer of employment should not only outline the job but should be signed, so make sure you have the candidate sign both of them.
- Do not hire over-qualified individuals as they will most likely become bored and will probably not stay engaged. On the flip side, don’t hire under-qualified individuals if you don’t have a way to bring them up to the standards you are working at or if you cannot train them effectively.
- Insure against charges of “I was never told” by requiring every new employee have an orientation that includes the reading of the company employee manual and the signing of an acknowledgement form.
- Let employees know that you want to hear their complaints and want to resolve any problems in a timely manner by letting them know the company communiction process .
- Put in place a formal review program and commit to it. Don’t rush through the process and hand out ineffective evaluations, but be honest and help develop the employee’s performance.
- If it becomes necessary to discipline or terminate an employee, make sure you review his or her personnel file and look at length of service, other infractions, how their evaluations have been in the past, and how serious is the infraction they are being disciplined for now.
- Be especially careful if you are going to be laying off employees. You need to consider the age, sex, or race of those being laid off and if your company is of a certain size (100 employees) you may be required to follow government layoff requirements, also known as WARN.
- Respect and courtesy go a long way in fending off litigation. Treat your employees the way you wish to be treated.
- When in doubt, get professional assistance from an employment lawyer. Most offer free or reduced fee consultations and may be able to help you in your quest to stay out of court.
There are probably many more tips. If you have more, please share them with us.