Mistakes Managers Make That Can Trigger Lawsuits - American Society of Employers - Heather Nezich

Mistakes Managers Make That Can Trigger Lawsuits

Employer law suits have increased over the years.  And whether legitimate or not, they cost employers time and money.  Many of these lawsuits are not triggered by blatant abuse of employment laws, but rather simple managerial mistakes.Common Mistakes

Ten of the most common managerial mistakes that could lead to a potential lawsuit include:

1.      Poor Documentation
Cases are proven through documents or statements made by managers.  Managers should always speak and write as if their comments may be heard by a jury someday.  It’s important to document everything to avoid a he said-she said situation.

2.      Not Knowing Policies and Procedures
If a manager admits ignorance in a court case, the jury will almost always side with employee.  It is the manager’s responsibility to know all the organization’s policies.

3.      Inflated Performance Appraisals
Performance reviews can be one of the most important forms of documentation.  Managers should give honest appraisals and not overinflate an employee’s ratings. If that manager tries to claim poor performance later, the documentation will not show it.

4.      Ignoring Complaints
Managers should take all complaints regarding claims of unfairness or discrimination seriously.  If not addressed, it will not only hurt employee morale, but it could also jeopardize the organization’s standing in court.

5.      Interview Errors
While it’s easy to answer why you hired someone, can you also answer why you didn’t hire someone?  Document all interviews, including the questions and answers.  Make sure managers are trained to ask proper, legal questions.  Never ask about age, race, marital status, children, day care plans, religion, health status, or political affiliation

6.      Lack of Legal Knowledge
Employers are expected to stay up to date on employer laws and regulations.  Know your organization’s policies and stay up to date on all state and federal regulations.

7.      Being Rude, Mean-Spirited
Even when an organization has a strong case, the jury will be much tougher on a manager who was rude and insensitive.

8.      Changing Your Story
If an organization states a reason for termination, and then that reason changes, all credibility will be lost.  State the honest reason up front and be prepared to defend that reason.

9.      Dictating Accommodations
If an employee requests an accommodation for a disability, it should be a “give-and-take” process to develop the accommodation.  Managers should not dictate the accommodation.

10.  Firing Employees Too Fast
Firing an employee with no attempt to address any issues will appear insensitive and potentially discriminatory if brought to court.  A lawsuit is less likely if the manager created a performance plan for the employee and gave them a chance to improve.

Additional ASE Resources
CCH HRAnswersNow – This ASE-member exclusive benefit is an online database with many compliance resources.  CCH HRAnswersNow covers employee information and records, staffing, compensation and benefits, employee development, employee relations, discrimination, workplace safety, and HR strategy. It also contains a State Employment Laws database, a customizable Job Description tool and a Performance Appraisal module. Members can access the database by logging into their ASE Dashboard.

Source: Business Management Daily

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