When it comes to employment discrimination lawsuits, the business always loses.
Whether your business wins the case or not, lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming, and only growing in frequency, having risen by a staggering 400 percent over the last 20 years.
That is why adopting some serious guidelines and creating a positive work environment for employees that discourages discrimination in any form can help protect your business from crippling litigation expenses. And remember that the key to being a great business owner is empowering your employees for success and demonstrating your appreciation on a regular basis.
Below are tips to reduce the chance of an employee or former employee filing a claim:
- Have an in-depth employee handbook that informs employees of your business’ antidiscrimination and anti-harassment policies. Make sure it details all your workplace’s procedures, including attendance, discipline, and complaints. Also, include an “at-will” statement stipulating that employees can be terminated at any time, for any reason, except for reasons that are illegal, such as discrimination.
- Develop a screening and hiring program to weed out unsuitable candidates before calling them to interview in person. If you choose not to hire the interviewee, that individual could allege some sort of discrimination.
- Ensure job roles are clearly defined. Create job descriptions to make clear to each employee precisely what the position entails, the skill level required, and performance expectations.
- Keep good records. Keep thorough records when it comes to termination of an employee or how complaints from a disgruntled employee were handled.
- Provide ongoing employee training. Be sure your HR department, HR employee, and/or hiring managers are up to date. Reinforce appropriate workplace appropriate workplace conduct by requiring all employees to participate in antidiscrimination and anti-harassment training programs.
Business owners who take a comprehensive approach to workplace policies, HR documentation, and management training are less likely to find themselves facing employment litigation.
Even so, your business is at risk of an employment claim from the moment you interview a prospective employee. For example, if you choose not to hire the interviewee, there is a chance that individual could allege some sort of discrimination. Or, if you hire that person and later fire them due to poor attendance, that discharged employee could claim wrongful termination.
That is why perhaps the most crucial step in protecting your business is purchasing employment practices liability insurance (EPLI). Whether you settle, win, or lose the case, EPLI covers the legal defense fees and settlement costs or damages. It’s common for settlement and defense costs to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s when EPLI can be your business’ best friend.
Don’t wait until you are the target of a lawsuit before you follow a few simple steps that could have prevented years of pain. For more information on ways to prevent employee-related claims, please call us at 845-986-1177. If you are interested in securing the financial stability of your business with EPLI, give us a call or fill out the quote form below and we’ll get back to you shortly!
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