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Know these 5 major reasons why employees sue

Being an employer is often fraught with thorny legal complexities. Not only must an employer efficiently run its business and manage its employees, it must do so while navigating a legal minefield. In our ever-litigious climate, many employers regularly face the threat of potential lawsuits from employees. To guard against frivolous lawsuits, employers should be aware of some of the main reasons that motivate employees to sue.

What follows is a list of the five common reasons why workers sue their employers.

Firing with no given reason

Most employees are considered at-will, meaning that an employer may fire them for any reason, with the exception of a short list of unlawful reasons. Still, if an employee is terminated without being given a clear reason why, it may prompt them to speculate about the cause of their termination and file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Firing a bad employee with good reviews

Even if your employee is performing poorly, firing him could mean legal trouble if you do not have adequate documentation. Make sure to have a paper trail detailing an employee's poor performance to deter litigation.

Unfortunate timing

It is unlawful to terminate an employee because he has complained about certain types of discrimination. If the employer terminates an employee shortly after he make such a complaint, the employee, his attorney, and the court could easily conclude retaliation was the motive for the termination. Maintain documentation and be cognizant of any timing issues that could look suspicious. Optics matter.

Slow internal investigations

Employers know that internal investigations can take time and that some aspects of an investigation must remain confidential. An employee who has filed a complaint may not be aware of this. Someone who has filed a complaint may believe the claim is being ignored when in reality it is still being handled. Keep an employee informed an investigation is ongoing even though you do not reveal the particulars of the investigation.

Not adhering to policy

Company policies are the rules of the road for a company and its employees. Straying from your company's own policies could all too easily provide evidence for and prompt the filing of a lawsuit. Train your supervisors to respect, enforce, and follow company policy.

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