Want to Avoid Legal Claims? Be Nice!

While it’s crucial that HR and management understand the many employment laws that regulate the workplace, there’s an even better approach that isn’t based on any particular law.

Often, the reason an employer gets sued (or gets an administrative claim or nasty demand letter from a lawyer) isn’t because the employer actually violated any law. Rather, it’s often just because an employer (usually via a supervisor) was a jerk/unfair/insensitive to an employee, compelling that employee to make a legal claim. And once that employee seeks the help of a plaintiffs’ attorney or government investigator, the odds are very high that the attorney/investigator can take the employee’s gripes about a jerk/unfair/insensitive supervisor and turn those gripes into one or more legal claims.

I often tell my members that once a legal claim is made against them, in many ways they’ve already lost.  Sure, they may ultimately successfully defend against the claim, but not without substantial cost, inconvenience, lost productivity, morale problems, and other negative results. That’s hardly a “win.”

Treat your people right—the way you’d like to be treated—and your chances of being on the receiving end of an employment claim go down significantly.