Not listening to employee complaints or failing to act decisively will lead to disgruntled employees over time. Disgruntled employees are the ones who sue. Though most employment-related legal issues are avoidable many companies never work on prevention. They stay in reaction mode. Unfortunately, once you are sued by an employee, other employees are more likely to consider this option.
.No company can achieve all of these preventive strategies perfectly. My advice is to decide where your worst weaknesses are, and work on those. Then establish long-term goals to address the others over time. If you are struggling to develop an HR strategic plan, some of these strategies might make sense for you.
Minimizing successful employee lawsuits
- Establish a code of ethics & define positive culture – include examples of wanted (collaboration) and unwanted (disrespectful) management behavior toward employees and among employees.
- Ensure that all employees know, understand and follow sensible policies.
- Define each position/job as more than just the tasks – include end results and work approach.
- Treat each hire as an opportunity to build on your positive culture – screen for technical skills, desired work approach AND fit with company values and philosophies.
- Evaluate performance for all aspects of the position – tasks, end results and approach relating to people.
- Listen carefully to every employee complaint – everyone wants to be heard.
- Know what your supervisors are doing – they are by extension, you.
- When one employee mistreats you or his/her peers, respond firmly and professionally – don’t overreact but also don’t ignore it.
- Treat all employees professionally, respectfully and equitably.
- Staff HR with a professional, knowledgeable individual or contract with an attorney and carefully weigh his/her advice.
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