Tips for Avoiding Lawsuits
There will likely come a time when an employee has a complaint against your company, and there is always the chance a complaint will escalate into an employment lawsuit. Defending against lawsuits can be costly in time, energy, and money, so your company should take steps to avoid a lawsuit whenever possible. Discuss your specific concerns with an Encino employment lawyer right away.
Have a clear recordkeeping system.
Employees claim they have unpaid wages on a regular basis in California, and many of these complaints stem from recordkeeping errors. Does your business have a clear way of tracking all the time that hourly employees work? Do you have a way to record when employees take meal or rest breaks? Such systems are a requirement under California law and also help to avoid disputes. Keep all of these records for at least four years, as this is the length of time an employee has to file a claim.
Have an updated and carefully drafted employee handbook.
Even if you only have one employee, it is important that you have an employee handbook. This handbook sets out policies for compensation, clocking time, days off, break times, benefits, and more. Once you have a handbook, however, it should not remain in place as-is indefinitely. Instead, each year, you should review the handbook and update any policies as needed. This provides up-to-date information to employees about what they should expect, which can prevent disagreements that lead to lawsuits.
Have documents of all workforce activities and communications.
While it might seem tedious, you and your management team should document everything that happens involving employees. This includes:
- Employee performance and evaluations
- Records of missed workdays or lateness
- Employee complaints
- Disciplinary action or warnings to employees
- Changes in policies
- Changes to an employee’s compensation
Make sure all verbal communications are accompanied by an email or another written communication. This way, when an employee protests something, you can show them verification of what happened.
Hire a human resources professional.
If you have several employees and the resources to do so, consider hiring a knowledgeable HR professional. This not only helps ensure that your HR practices are in compliance with the law, but also takes the pressure off you and other management to have to deal with employee-related matters. Part of the job of HR professionals is to address employee complaints and conduct proper investigations. This can help to avoid escalating legal matters in many situations.
Have the help of an Encino employment lawyer.
To make sure you are in compliance with all of California’s complex employment laws, you should have an experienced Encino employment attorney on hand. A lawyer can get to know your business so they can address employee issues right away. The involvement and guidance of an attorney can help you negotiate with the employee and resolve the matter up front, so you do not risk having to go to court.
Kaufman McAndrew LLP assists California businesses with employment matters. Call 818-788-5767 or contact us online for more information today.