In a previous blog, I addressed the growing issue of employee retaliation claims and the financial impact they can have on a business. Here, we’ll look at five ways you can better safeguard your company against these types of claims.
1. Document, document, document
When facing a legal claim, you’ll need to have evidence to justify actions taken against an employee. Carefully document all conversations related to a disciplinary situation — including the reasons that led up to the incident.
2. Be consistent when applying workplace rules and policies
According to the Employment Law Handbook, employers that carelessly and inconsistently apply workplace policies are more likely to face employment claims and, worse, are more likely to lose those claims. An example of inconsistency could be an employer being more lenient with a manager than with an hourly employee coming in late. To improve consistency, employers should ensure that workplace policies are in writing and that managers and supervisors are properly trained.
3. Be progressive in your actions
An employee who isn’t warned about an ongoing issue can feel blindsided when an employer finally takes action. According to the law firm BKCG, it’s a good idea to engage in progressive discipline that leads up to the eventual employment action, whether that’s a termination or something else. In doing so, there is a clear escalation and a documented progression of justifications for the employer to take adverse action.
4. Consider your timing
An employee who files a complaint against their employer and is dismissed a week later may feel that they are being punished for doing so. Even if a situation justifies immediate action being taken, it could be in your best interest to wait a while before taking any disciplinary action against an employee.
5. Have a witness present
When addressing an employee regarding a disciplinary matter, try to have a witness present who can support your testimony. This can include a co-worker, a supervisor and even a human resources representative who may have records regarding work performance, behavior issues, etc.
Employment practice liability claims can arise in every type of organization — regardless of the company’s structure or size. The specialists at Oakwood D&O are dedicated to the employment practices liability insurance marketplace and stand ready to find the appropriate coverage to meet your needs.
To learn more, get in touch! Email Eli Solomon, CEO, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-686-7519. You can also follow Oakwood D&O on LinkedIn.