Litigation may be a fact of life when you run a small business, but that doesn't mean small business owners don't want to avoid it as much as possible. The bad news is that the majority of the litigation risk comes from your own employees. The good news is that you can mitigate this risk with some common sense adjustments to your managerial style.
Here's how your company's management culture can minimize your risk of employment litigation:
Company culture comes from the top down, and it starts on the first day. How you train your managers will set the tone for your entire staff, and can either get you into a lot of trouble or keep you out of it.
Most importantly, your managers need quality human resources training, including how to handle potential employee complaints. Managers need to be familiar with the basics of employment law as well as new trends in workplace harassment and discrimination law in order to properly handle any situation before it gets out of hand.
Managers create your company culture not just with what they know, but with what they do. If your managers' misbehavior goes unpunished, employee morale and conduct will soon follow, opening up your business to more lawsuits.
Managers should be positive and proactive ambassadors of your management culture, encouraging open communication in the workplace and instilling trust when it comes to employment issues. Managers should also remind employees that discrimination, harassment, and disrespect in the office of others will not be tolerated and that management will quickly address any such incidents.
One of the best ways to create faith and accountability in your management culture is to create and implement consistent systems for making employment decisions, logging and responding to employee concerns, and remedying potential legal problems. Comprehensive documentation of employment issues can be your best defense to an employee lawsuit, and hopefully keep you out of litigation in the first place.
If you have questions about minimizing your small business's litigation risk, you can consult with an experienced employment law attorney near you.
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