No matter you practice a equal opportunity policy, fair pay system, employee grievance redressal practices or have a positive company culture system, your company is always exposed to the risk of ‘lawsuits’. It is common for the companies to be accused of discrimination, harassment and other employee generated lawsuits.
Although until and unless proved right, these lawsuits do not garner much harm to the company but to ensure that they aren’t provided right one must know the common types of lawsuits and how they must be treated.
An official report released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2014 disclosed that in the United States it is common for a company to face discrimination charges quite frequently. The report further stated that:
- In 2014, 88778 discrimination charges were reported in the United States.
- On the basis of merit, the EEOC’s Office of General Counsel filed 133 lawsuits involving the allegations of discrimination.
- A total of $22.5 million monetary relief was offered under these lawsuits.
EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is an organization that works for employee’s rights and ensure there are no barriers to equal employment opportunities and as per the above-mentioned reports, it is clear that there is a prominent violation of the discrimination laws in the companies In the US.
Some additional stats state that the other cases registered under EEOC include retaliation 42.8%, disability 28.6%, racism and harassment 35%, Sex (pregnancy & Sexual harassment) 29.3%, age 23.2%, religion 4%, and color 3.1% and more.
However, not all these cases were proven to be right. Thus it is must for the Human Resources department of a company to have thorough knowledge about the various lawsuits. Here are the 5 common workplace lawsuits:
It is common for employees to get injured at the workplace. Any such injury is covered under the worker’s compensation insurance by the employer. An employee may, however, file a case against the employer claiming the injury to be a result of negligence by the employer.
For this, the employer must educate the staff for worker’s safety policies, practical training sessions for workplace safety and more.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that , hourly employees must be paid overtime as per the case. To ensure fair payment, the employer must track of the number of hours worked by the employee and ensure payment for the same.
Discrimination charges are the most commonly registered lawsuits in the U.S. The employees may press charges when they feel treated unfairly on the basis of caste, race, gender, religion, disability, age, marital status, family background or more.
There are many forms of workplace harassment. can be harassed sexually, physically or mentally. Commenting a sexual remark, touching the employee inappropriately, physically assaulting the employee, bullying, etc are common harassment instances in an organization. There must be strict policies in an organization to prevent any such instances to occur in the first place. The policy must be strict and fairly outlined in the employee handbook.
An employee can file a lawsuit against an organization if he/she feels that they are terminated on wrongful grounds. The grounds for termination should be fair and well explained. The employer must support his reason for termination with proofs to ensure fair termination.
How to avoid common HR lawsuits?
Lawsuits can cost an organization time, money and efforts. Thus it is advisable that the human resource department takes all the necessary measures to ensure that there is no ground offered to the employees where they may file a lawsuit. For this the human resource department should:
- Ensure proper documentation prepared at all the times. This includes personal & professional records of the employees, their performance record, attendance, review and other related records.
- Train the employees and managers for workplace safety measures as well as the organizational policies for sexual harassment, discrimination, etc.
- Comply with the law including company policies, federal, state and local regulations and best practices.
- Stay abreast of all the latest changes in the rules and regulations under different governing organizations.
- Maintain policies for the organization on a strict basis.
Besides this, hiring an expert employee greiviance lawyer is also a great step to prevent any discrepancies. A lawyer can suggest you both pre and post greiviance solutions to prevent any dispute at the first place. These are the ways the Human Resource department can ensure complete workplace safety for the employees.