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Employee lawsuits are on the rise, and employers are baffled as to why. An employment claim can not only be extremely costly for any business, but it can also significantly reduce productivity. If the claimant is still working for the company, which is highly probable, it can be challenging for the employee, their work colleagues, and the employer to concentrate on the business. Employee lawsuits are a risk factor that can be avoided.
There is also a significant amount of time taken away from work for meetups with attorneys, depositions, and other lawsuit-related matters. Furthermore, if an employee files a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or files a civil suit, the charge may be made public, negatively impacting the company’s reputation.
These sorts of damages are not always monetary in nature, but they can be equally devastating as a million-dollar settlement.
And the laws are making it much easier for employees to sue their employers than ever before. Also, finding an employment lawyer is a piece of cake since many employment lawyers are aggressively courting employees to file more employee lawsuits.
Let’s take a minute to discuss some of the issues that are driving more and more employee lawsuits:
Unlawful Interview Questions
During the interview process, all candidates must be treated equally. This implies they are evaluated based on their abilities and experience rather than other unimportant factors. Unfortunately, illegal interview questions are still common. Women are frequently questioned about whether or not they have kids, and individuals with disabilities are frequently questioned about their disability.
These are both discriminatory and inappropriate situations. If an applicant feels they were denied a job because of their gender, disability, or other protected minority, they have the opportunity and the right to sue.
Termination Without Cause
Wrongful termination is a common reason for suing an employer. Differences between an employer and an employee can take place at any time. However, that does not mean that the employer has the right to wrongful termination. If an employer is firing an employee, the reason for the dismissal must not be illegal under federal or state labor laws. If the reason for dismissal was in fact illegal, like workplace discrimination, then this gives the dismissed employee the right to sue their employer, which they are doing since employees are more aware of their rights.
Unfair Punishment Or Retaliation
Rash discipline in the heat of the situation may result in a lawsuit; similarly, employment retaliation is likely to result in a lawsuit. It is critical that all employees are treated fairly and, as a result, disciplined in the same manner as fellow employees in similar situations.
Most organizations have a written organization discipline policy in place to ensure that all employees are treated fairly, and managers and supervisors are expected to follow it. All employees should be aware of the disciplinary strategy, and all employee discipline must be handled in the same manner.
Remote Work Issues:
This is another potential driver of employee lawsuits. Employees who have been working from home due to the pandemic for the past couple of years may interpret an order to return to the office as a threat to their health.
The new norms surrounding remote work leave employers open to potential lawsuits. If an employer fails to create a safe work environment and requires employees to return to the office, endangering their health, they may face a lawsuit. Even if an employer believes they have taken all the necessary precautions to protect its employees, a lawsuit could still challenge that.
Lawsuits for Harassment
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual comments, and other physical or verbal harassment. Employers are facing sexual harassment lawsuits because they do not have sexual harassment training programs in place.
By 2020, harassment claims would have likely decreased due to workers’ being at home. However, just because more employees work remotely does not prevent sexual harassment from occurring. With the return of offices and a new way of working, we may see an increase in claims. Businesses are more likely to face the same types of lawsuits, but they will be approached and upheld differently again due to new remote work norms.
Misclassification Of Workers As Independent Contractors
Misclassifying employees as independent contract workers is not only a breach of both federal and state laws but also invites legal action from employees. Employers frequently misclassify employees to avoid paying payroll taxes and benefits. If a worker appears to agree to be handled as a contractor, that does not suddenly make them one, nor does it deter that employee from suing in the future. If a worker is not classified accurately, the supervisor will always be subject to serious penalties and fines, as well as a workers’ lawsuit.
Conclusion on Employee Lawsuits
Many employment lawsuits could be avoided if employers paid attention to specific aspects of their organization’s environment and understood employee red flags. While not every employment-related lawsuit can be avoided, employers can minimize litigation risk by recognizing and comprehending the following reasons why employees end up suing their employers.