1. You’re outta here! In a down economy the single best way to get sued by an employee is to let them go. Right now jobs are not as easy to find so people who would once have had a better job before they even collected an unemployment check are now spending weeks if not months and at certain levels years finding a new job. This gives them lots of time to dwell on how they were wronged and makes it much more likely that they will file a complaint with the Department of Labor or the Division on Civil Rights or directly in superior court. Careful planning before you let someone go and a carefully crafted severance agreement are your best friends in this situation.
The Big Secrets. Respect, fairness, and communication. The employer that every employee wants to go the extra mile for treats employees with respect by setting expectations clearly and communicating all necessary information without talking down to or belittling an employee. You wouldn’t hire people who couldn’t get the job done so invite their ideas about how to do their jobs better, additional services or products to add, or new employees to hire and then take the time to listen. Some of the best ideas come from some of the least articulate people if you take the time to hear them out.
The employer who avoids lawsuits treats employees fairly by taking their individual situations into account without playing favorites. All employees don’t have to be treated exactly alike at all times. Employees will go the extra mile for an employer who gives an employee who is temporarily having a hard time a break as long as they believe that they would get that break if they had a personal crisis.
Finally, just like in any other relationship, communication is key. Employees can’t all pull together to get where you want to go if they don’t know what the goal is or how you want to get there. Remember, if you treat employees as engaged, conscientious, competent adults they will generally behave that way and if you treat them as stupid, slacking get over artists that’s what you will get.
This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney client relationship. Please contact me or your local labor and employment attorney should you need legal advice.