On the one hand, your employees are a vital part of your company. A cog in the big machine that is your business. They’re the ones who interact with your customers and gain new demand for your business. On the other hand, though, employees can cause constant headaches for business owners. They can be detrimental to the success of your company. That’s why you need to know about the issues employees can cause for your business and how to avoid or deal with them. There are a few specific issues that you need to be aware of. These are commonly related to potential lawsuits. But it’s important to realise that by taking the right steps you can avoid the issue of a lawsuit completely. Preemptive action will help you deal with these problems before they arise in your business.
On this post, we will look at the different lawsuits that you might be hit with and how to avoid them completely.
Recommended reading: How to Deal with Injury at Work
Personal Injury Claims
Most businesses are constantly facing personal injury claims. Either from employees or people who were on the work premises. In fact, PI claims are so common that it often seems like they are impossible to avoid. But this isn’t the case. There are easy ways to avoid ever being hit with a PI claim.
You just need to make sure that your office or workplace is following health and safety regulations. It’s important that your staff are trained to deal with health and safety issues in the office. If there is a hazard, they should know how to deal with it and they should know it is their responsibility. They should also be up to date with the latest health and safety procedures.
You should hire and appoint health and safety officers in your business as well. They will be the people in charge of making sure your office is fit for work. They will also be the people who deal with health and safety complaints within your office. By doing this, you should only have to deal with health and safety yourself, if a serious incident has occurred.
Of course, you could do everything to protect your office and an accident could still occur. That’s why it’s also important to make sure your business has general liability insurance. Do this and your business is protected by your insurance coverage if an accident occurs. They will pay out the costs, rather than it having to come out your business accounts.
You should also have a skilled attorney. They need to be knowledgeable in premises liability, ready to defend your business. It’s crucial that you can be sure that if it does end up in a court case, you have the defence necessary to win. Though truth be told, most PI cases are settled outside of court for fair amounts.
Recommended reading: 5 Things You’ll Need For A Personal Injury Claim
Wrongful Dismissal Claims
Wrongful dismissal claims are less common than PI claims but they are still an issue that you need to be aware of. There are plenty of reasons why an employee might think that they were fired for an unfair reason. They might think that they have a case for discrimination. Or, they might claim the business did not follow TUPE guidelines and regulations.
The trick here is knowing what your rights are when hiring and firing employees. To do this, it’s best to speak to a legal advisor. They will be able to tell you every right that you have when considering whether to keep an employee on the staff. In the case of TUPE, you might be outside of regulations if you are outsourcing an in-house service. Or, if the business is being sold to another owner. In both of these cases, you can not automatically start letting staff go. This is one issue of outsourcing that you hardly ever hear about. But many business owners have fallen into the trap of disregarding TUPE and paid the price of doing so.
If you are letting an employee go, you must be certain for your reason for doing so. There should be no evidence that you have let an employee go due to any other reason than their performance. This is one of the reasons why many offices in America do not allow colleagues to date. A relationship in the office could be used in the defence of an employee who was wrongfully dismissed. It’s crucial that you think about ethical issues like this when running your business.
Finally, any lawyer will tell you that an emotional distress claim is a difficult case to win. One of the reasons for this is that a lawyer must prove that the business owner was partially or primarily responsible. Typically, this can not be proven due to other mitigating factors that were at play outside of the office. Or, there is no evidence to prove the office was causing emotional distress. But before you breathe a sigh of relief, the difficulty of an emotional distress claim doesn’t protect the business owner. And if they do win the case, you can expect higher damages than the other instances on this list. Emotional distress claims can be quite serious, including accusations of harassment or bullying. When brought forward by an employee of a business these issues make lawyers see dollar signs. But only if they can prove there were issues like this in the workplace.
The trick here is to make sure your business does everything to prevent issues like this arising. Part of this is providing support for staff who could be suffering from emotional problems at work. HR companies often provide this possibility, monitoring your staff to ensure there are no issues. You should also make sure your staff have someone to talk to if they do have a problem in the office. They need to know that they have the support of your company. If you do this, you will make the chances of an emotional distress claim against your company significantly lower.