Every new hire at an organization is a potential source of organizational liability. Workers can mistreat each other, leading to harassment claims. They can make mistakes that lead to customer or client complaints. They could also eventually take the company to court, causing not only legal expenses but also damage to the organization’s reputation.
When the leadership at an organization is aware of what prompts many employment lawsuits, they can potentially take action ahead of time to prevent those the issues from affecting their company. These are three of the most common reasons that employees take legal action against the organizations that employ them.
Claims of discrimination
Workers who believe that a company violated their rights may decide to take legal action against the company. Discrimination could involve a hostile work environment that goes unchecked by management or claims of seemingly institutional discrimination based on who gets promoted or terminated in layoffs. Discrimination based on age, religion, sex and disability could all lead to lawsuits. Companies should therefore respond proactively if workers claim they have experienced discrimination in the workplace.
Workplace law violations
Wage and hour claims are among the most common reasons that workers take legal action against their current or former employers. If a company has violated fair pay rules, possibly by refusing to pay overtime wages, the workers affected might take the matter to court. Similarly, severance pay disputes when a worker gets let go may also lead to an employee initiating a claim against the company. Misclassification of workers as independent contractors or failing to adhere to safety regulations might also prompt litigation.
Allegations of retaliation
Workers shouldn’t have to fear speaking up for themselves. Whether they ask for unpaid leave using the Family and Medical Leave Act or they report sexual harassment to their supervisor, they shouldn’t worry about the company punishing them for asserting their basic employment right. Demoting or terminating a worker after they report misconduct is one of the more obvious types of retaliation, and workers who believe their employers punished them for speaking up may decide to take legal action.
Having thoughtful policies and contract inclusions in place can help employers navigate disputes with their workers and minimize the possibility of an expensive employee lawsuit down the road.