We stated this before in our blogs and social media releases, but it is important enough to repeat: Preventing litigation is a cost-effective strategy that limits the amount of time, focus, and money that you spend on preserving your business rather than growing it. There are several components to the litigation process, and separate from the trial itself, the discovery phase may generate the highest costs. Though it depends on your case, firms typically spend months during the discovery phase. Some trial attorneys will shut their offices down for at least a week before a trial to devote all their focus to your case.
Representation of this magnitude comes at a cost, and the amount of time and money it takes to prevent having to pay them is relatively negligible. Because some of the most common sources for business litigation stem from contractual breaches and employment issues, we wanted to show you how to invest minimal money to protect yourself against the latter. Develop, implement, update, and train your employees on your employee handbook.
Why Is This Important?
Employee handbooks are mass communication tools. Even if you have a small company of ten employees, don’t underestimate how challenging it will be to instill in them what your company stands for, what you expect from them, and how your company operates. Employee litigation is a broad term, but many cases are rooted in discrimination claims. Let’s examine how an employee handbook can establish a baseline and protect your employees. Here is a list of things that should be covered in it:
- Values, mission, and purpose
- Your stance against discrimination and harassment
- Policies & procedures (and how to properly report workplace violations
- Times when the employees should be in the office, and how to request time off
- How the employees will be evaluated
- What types of steps the company implements if performance is an issue
- Information about your insurance plan and other benefits that you offer
Everything you write in this handbook needs to be precise and deliberate. For example, you may have your employees sign the handbook after they have read it. Does your handbook state that it isn’t a contract, and does it outline the at-will nature of the employment relationship? Using the correct language creates misunderstandings, leading to disagreements and potential litigation.
Handbooks are your opportunity to state, in writing, that you don’t promote, condone, or allow discrimination or harassment in any phase of the employee’s life cycle with the company. These values can be elaborated upon in your policies and procedures section, and your employees must know who to speak with when there is an issue. For example, if someone is subjected to sexual harassment, how do they file a report, who did they give it to, and what is the process for following up? Employees who don’t have someone to turn to will find a lawyer to represent them. Your handbook will be effective when it sets expectations.
Quantum Lex Provides Innovative Solutions
Quantum Lex can assist you and your company when you face employment issues because we want to minimize its effect on you. Whether you are facing issues rooted in discrimination, employee contracts, or sexual harassment, contact Quantum Lex to schedule your consultation.
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