A lawsuit is one of the worst challenges a company can face, but taking the time to evaluate legal risks at your company – and within your IT department – can keep your organization safe.
Lawsuits could result from anything, including employee disputes, terminations or customer dissatisfaction. Disgruntled people may feel the need to take revenge through legal action, even if the infraction seems small.
One excellent strategy to avoid lawsuits: Take particular care with firing employees, and make sure every personnel decision is reasoned out and well-documented so no one can accuse you of discrimination.
There are several other ways you can strengthen your legal standing and sidestep any pitfalls you may encounter.
Here are four additional recommendations to reduce the risk of lawsuits within your company:
- Write (or edit) your employee handbook. The documents that discuss your organization’s policies and procedures should address both federal and state laws. Different states have different requirements for maternity leave and overtime shifts, as well as how much notice you’re allowed to request if an employee takes a personal day or uses sick leave. Compliance issues can be fertile ground for lawsuits, so make sure your HR department writes all your policies in clear language that follows legal guidelines. You’ll also want to make sure you stay abreast of new information security requirements or laws, so you’re not accidentally compromising customer information.
- Address risk head-on. If you don’t already have a risk committee, consider forming one where staff members and providers can be active participants in determining high-risk areas. Focus on creating an environment where all employees, even low-level ones, are comfortable speaking to supervisors and other higher-ups about problems they notice. Risk management is best when everyone’s invested in it and has the opportunity to speak up about issues they’re seeing.
- Host huddle meetings. A meeting attended by the entire organization might not be as feasible at a large company, but even holding departmental huddles where all staff in each area run through their schedule and discuss potential challenges can help prepare staff for their duties and mitigate any risks that could cause lawsuits. Talking with your department about what needs to be done and reminding employees about certain high-risk tasks ensures they’re being careful.
- Keep customers in mind. Clear and effective communication with your customers is the most important way to avoid legal trouble. People you’re working with need to know you’re committed to the partnership and taking their concerns seriously. Developing that trust also means if they feel something’s wrong, they’ll be more willing to talk about it rather than jumping immediately to a lawsuit.