Getting sued is easy. It’s avoiding lawsuits that is the real challenge. The HR Daily Advisor was recently at the SHRM’s 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans. Here we attended a session entitled From the Boardroom to the Courtroom: Top 10 Business Practices That Will Get You Sued, presented by Pavneet Singh Uppal and Shayna H. Balch.
- Misidentifying the employer. It is very important that you make sure your workers are correctly associated with the right company in handbooks, executive agreements, non-compete agreements, and all other documentation. This prevents workers from suing a parent company or subsidiary for something that didn’t happen there.
- Confusing arrests with convictions. As an employer it is critical that you do not conflate being arrested for a crime with a criminal conviction. Arguably, anyone could be arrested at any time for anything, whether they did it or not. Only take disciplinary action against an employee for violating your company’s ethics or guidelines if they are actually criminally convicted of a crime.
- Poor timekeeping policies and practices. You may be comfortable thinking that you are only responsible to pay for what your company’s time clock tracks. But what about poor time rounding, remote work, late night emails and texts or emails and texts on personal devices? Don’t open yourself up to litigation, make sure your timekeeping practices are accurate, precise, and legal.
- Improper Pay Deductions. Taking shortcuts when it comes to pay deductions can be costly in the court of law. For example, don’t deduct pay when a salaried employer has approval for a day off. They must be paid the same amount each pay period. Also, don’t deduct pay for a day of inclement weather, a partial day for parent teacher conferences, etc. If you make regular pay deductions for salaried employers you could put their exempt status at risk, and get nailed for improper employee classification.
- Overusing independent contractors. This is a big one, as the DOL has been ramping up their efforts at stamping out improper employee classification for the last year, and they don’t seem likely to stop any time soon. If you are using independent contractors, make sure they are well classified within the confines of state and federal laws. Just labeling a regular employee as a contractor is a great way to land in legal hot water
Join us next week with more from this session!