Key Points

  • Labor and employment litigation is on the rise, presenting employers with costly, time-consuming obstacles to their business practices. To keep costs down and employee morale and productivity up, employers should take a proactive approach to prevent litigation, rather than simply respond to it when faced with a lawsuit. Basic litigation prevention measures include periodic audits of personnel files for thoroughness and accuracy, periodic reviews of written policies and procedures and periodic reviews of supervisor education and training.
  • Shoring up business practices, including distribution of information, employee handbooks and guidelines for employee performance, appraisal and discipline can go a long way toward preventing litigation. Education of employees in a supervisory capacity, together with maintenance of good relations between employees, supervisors and managers will have a tremendous positive impact to reduce litigation in the future. Education and maintenance of good relations may take the form of meetings, seminars, retreats and distribution of hard copy reading materials.
  • Employers can also prevent a large portion of litigation by conducting regular training sessions for supervisors and managers to spot problematic issues in the workplace before they get out of control. They can teach managers and supervisors about best practices to avoid claims of harassment or discrimination, and address the concerns they have about business practices they see on an ongoing basis, some of which are not apparent to HR professionals further removed from the workforce. Employers can further shield themselves from liability by requiring that supervisors sign forms acknowledging their receipt of educational materials, their participation in educational and training sessions and their express agreement not to violate the employer's policies and procedures.

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