Consequently, lawsuits by employees against their employers are on the increase.
The fact is lawsuits are not only time consuming but also a costly exercise. Therefore, everything should always be done to nip issues in the bud.
Simply put, managers must be careful with how they treat with employees and ensure that mistakes made are not allowed to deteriorate to the extent of a lawsuit and courtroom call.
Now, here are 10 mistakes that managers tend to make which could leave them exposed.
1. Firing employees quickly
In general, the firing of an employee should be a last resort. Today, workers are no longer prepared to be sitting ducks; they are now more informed and aware of their rights under the law. Moreover, it is more than likely that they will seek the counsel of an attorney if they think they’ve been wronged by their employer.
2. Improper documentation
Managers cannot afford to be sloppy with their records. Evidence in writing is always a greater proof than mere oral testimony.
3. Poor listening skills
Brushing off employee complaints of sexual harassment is a sure sign that a manager is not ready for prime time.
4. Personal bias error
This is a performance appraisal error that occurs when expectations and prejudices cause a manager to fail to give the employee complete respect. Common examples include showing bias based on race or gender.
5. Rude behavior
The failure to treat terminated employees with dignity, that is, manhandling employee out without a allowing them a chance to gather their belongings, deducting or withholding money from the employee’s final paycheck, and providing negative references can all prompt the employee to seek revenge through lawsuits.
6. Broken promises
A managers not keeping to promises made, whether they be oral or written, related to pay, working conditions, or other matters of employment under any pretext invariably leads to distrust and resentment by an employee, and may lead to lawsuits for breach of contract or promissory estoppel, besides discrimination.
7. Wage errors
Common employer mistakes that lead to employee lawsuits related to wages and hours laws include:
- Considering employees as “exempt” when paying them
- Not paying overtime even when allowing an employee to take extra work home to catch up
- Docking exempt employee’s pay for partial day absence
- Allowing employees “comp time” off instead of overtime pay
Employees can file lawsuits accusing the company of overlooking them for promotions, denying hikes, terminations, or unfavorable working conditions based on gender, color, race, creed, religion, national origin, pregnancy, childbirth, marital status, public assistance status, disability, sexual orientation, age, or membership in a local anti-discrimination commission.
9. Not knowing policies and procedures
Lack of training may lead managers to make mistakes in areas such as recruitment, selection, and other policy issues; for example, a negative performance review.
10. Failure to curtail employee favoritism or inconsistent treatment of employees.
We all have seen this one: the boss’ pet. Beware, this breeds a lot of resentment among employees and jurors, many of whom have had to deal with it in their work environment.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
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