Although business executives may prefer to focus their attention on revenues, product innovations and other measures of a company’s growth, the fact remains that a company’s success is also dependent on good employment relations with its workers.
In several recent posts, we’ve explored various types of discrimination claims. Indeed, employment disputes can be extremely damaging to a company’s bottom line. Disagreements alleging discrimination in violation of a federal or state employment law may subject an employer to legal action. Even if a company prevails in that legal preceding, it could still suffer reputational damage that negatively impacts its sales; if found liable, the resulting judgment could include stiff sanctions or penalties.
An attorney that focuses on a full spectrum of business litigation may recommend several proactive approaches. For example, a corporate employee handbook is one way to articulate best practices in work behavior, as well providing examples of potentially illegal behaviors like employment discrimination, a hostile work environment or harassment. Such a publication may also describe the procedure by which an employee may report workplace concerns.
In the context of performance reviews, a variety of federal and state laws could potentially apply to that process, including benchmarks like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Equal Pay Act. Although no one wants a poor evaluation, it is important for an employer to protect against discrimination or harassment claims by articulating clear criteria by which a manger or supervisor will be evaluating his or her employees. Memorializing those reviews into writing is another way to provide transparency to the process.
Although there is no guarantee against unwanted employment disputes, proactive approaches may help safeguard against misunderstandings and provide guidance when questions arise.
Related Posts: “U.S. Supreme Court case limits age discrimination cases,” “Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. may not affect employees’ burden of proof in FEHA age discrimination lawsuits,” “Beware: Your asserted independent contractors could be re-classified”