Hiring new workers will mean expanding what your company is capable of doing, but it will also mean increasing the risk of some kind of interpersonal conflict or future misconduct by that new hire. Workers can make mistakes, break the law, steal from the company or alienate long-term clients.
No business can completely eliminate the risk that comes from hiring new workers, but organizations can take steps to significantly reduce the likelihood of an expensive employment law claim affecting their company’s operations in the future.
What are some of the ways companies can protect against the financial damage employees might cause with a future lawsuit?
1. Having a thorough employment contract
There are many ways for the contract that a business executes with the new employee to reduce the risk that comes from hiring that new talent. They can include restrictive covenants that can limit the likelihood of a worker misusing information they learn or the relationships they establish because they work for your business.
Contracts can also very carefully detail what workers can expect as far as bonuses, compensation and any sort of severance pay when they leave a position with your company. Thorough contracts make it easy for you to defend against claims that you did not meet your promises to a worker and can help you hold them accountable for unfair competition that occurs after they leave the organization.
2. Drafting a comprehensive worker handbook
From training on what constitutes sexual harassment and how your company expects people to report coworker misconduct to clear instructions on punctuality, social media use and appearance in the workplace, your handbook can provide crucial information that prevents workers from harassing one another or blaming the business for the misconduct of specific coworkers.
Companies that have policies against harassment and discrimination and that provide proper training will have an easier time defending against later lawsuits.
3. Updating policies as laws change
State and federal employment rules constantly change, and what adequately protected your business 10 years ago may leave it vulnerable today. Businesses need to track changing regulatory standards and best practices in the Human Resources field to ensure they don’t unintentionally run afoul of the law and open themselves up to a claim by a current or former employee.
Developing proactive policies and treating each worker’s complaint as a serious issue can go a long way toward minimizing the likelihood of costly employment lawsuits against your company.