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How to Protect Your Business From a Lawsuit

If you want your business to grow or even sustain, you will need support with your people and employment laws. Although businesses with only a couple of employees may not be able to afford an employment law attorney, the thought of a lawsuit can be scary and the threat in today's business is real. So, how can you take steps to protect your business from a lawsuit?

  • Get familiar with federal, state and local employment laws. Did you know that employment laws change on an annual, monthly and even weekly basis? Just last year laws that previously had only been required for businesses with 50+ employees were updated to be required for businesses with 5+ employees as well. Learn about CA's Fair Employment and Housing Act, and the federal Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Learn about what makes an employee an employee versus a contractor. What about CFRA, FMLA and OSHA?

  • Be very careful about who you hire. Really consider a candidate before hiring them. Run the appropriate background and reference checks, make sure you know what you can (and cannot) ask during an interview. Look through their social media pages (which can give you clues as to what kind of employee you may be hiring!).

  • Treat all employees equally, including having policies in place for fair and equitable treatment in all situations.

  • Keep your harassment and discrimination policies up to date. You should have this as training for all employments, signed agreements, and up to d

ate policies. Let employees know how to report instances, and maintain their confidentiality.

  • Document, document, document. See my other blog on this - you may have an amazing workplace and culture, and be doing everything right- but if you do not have documentation you are going to be in a situation you may not be able to fix when you get into a lawsuit. You should have records of everything - promotions, hires, performance conversations, terminations, attendance records, training records, etc.

If you can’t afford to hire a full-time HR person, consult with someone who specializes in human resources. This can help to identify potential problems before they occur.

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