How to Prevent Employee Litigation
Getting sued by an employee that you worked hard to train and invest in is one of the worst feelings for a business owner. Although you may think that your employees love you and the company and that a lawsuit couldn’t happen to you- they happen to nearly every company out there. Here are the best ways to keep the court at bay and how you can work with your employees to create a safer workspace.
Keep Clear Rules and Safety Guidelines
Post clear rules for your employees, and keep safety guidelines next to any machinery or tools they might use. If your business uses large vehicles, clearly mark where those vehicles will drive, who can guide them, and when they’re supposed to be in use. Although this might feel like overkill, it’s your job to ensure your employees start on the best foot. Following every OSHA guideline is a fantastic place to begin this journey since this part of the government understands what your employees need to thrive.
From the moment you hire your employees, their training should be the most important thing. They need to learn how to operate machinery safely, be trained to lift items safely, and be informed on how to treat their coworkers. Cover every base that could potentially be trouble otherwise, and make sure that they understand you. Your company can be pulled under by nasty lawsuits and terrible training- so take this seriously.
Offer an Open-Door Policy
An open-door policy is useful because it allows your employees to have a place where they can come and talk to someone if there’s an issue. That doesn’t mean that they have to speak to the owner or the CEO, but instead that they have someone available in human resources who will listen and take their concerns seriously. Tell your employees that if they need to escalate it to you, they can, though, so that they feel safe speaking about issues.
Limit Your Liability
Ensure that you put as much information and energy as necessary into every employee. Have them sign off whenever you train them and ensure that they also sign that they understand the machines’ safety and work. Although you should again do your part and make sure they know this information, having them sign shows that you put in your best effort to train them.
Plan For The Worst
Even the best-laid plans can go poorly, and although you may have done everything right- you still may get sued. Your company should put together a plan so that you’ll be ready for it if you do get sued. This means finding an economic expert you can trust, having insurance for your company if it gets sued, and having everything you’ve taught and trained this employee on in writing.
It may feel strange to keep files and information on all of your training for your employees, but this paper trail could save you in the long run. It would help if you still did everything you can to avoid court, but doing so without also being prepared for it isn’t very reasonable.