Workplace injury, discrimination, and harassment: This treacherous triad may be the employer’s worst nightmare. Lawsuits can quickly shipwreck any business, destroying both profit and reputation. More seriously yet, the physical and psychological safety of employees may be at risk wherever business owners neglect to take the necessary precautions, and acquire relevant knowledge of certain rules and regulations.
Become Educated About New Regulations
This may be the most ominous element of the possibility of being subject to a lawsuit: it is not necessary for the employer to deliberately bully or grieve his employees in order to fall under the latter’s wrath. All that is required is for an employer to fail to be sensitive to potential pitfalls in order to succumb to financial catastrophe. New regulations against discrimination are continually surfacing in order to protect marginalized groups who may not have been previously protected in the workplace. This is true particularly of individuals from certain racial groups, and individuals with sexual orientations which do not fall within the mainstream.
Grounds For Charges of Discrimination
Discrimination due to sexual preference or identity, race, disability and religious practice are major potential grounds for lawsuit. For example, in 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that it is illegal for workplaces to discriminate against transgender individuals. Firing an employee on the grounds that such workers may repel potential customers by identifying or dressing as the opposite sex may result in lawsuit by the employee. The same is true for making reasonable accommodation for the dress or holiday observance of those of different religious persuasions, provided no undue hardship is placed upon the employer.
Required Wages For Overtime
Pinching pennies is an important part of owning a business, however, the unscrupulous business owner will find themselves short on pennies if he does not pay his employees what is owed. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that those who work over 40 hours a week be paid at least time and one-half their regular rate of pay. Failure to distribute appropriate overtime wages may result in troublesome lawsuits.
Liability For Harassment
More obviously, harassment of any kind may result in a lawsuit. While an employer is forbidden from firing a Muslim for his religious dress and holiday observance, for example, it is no less a problem to make fun of the way a Muslim may decide to don a turban. Failure to respect differences in unique religious habits and beliefs of each employee may put the employer at risk of lawsuit. It ought to go without saying, moreover, that sexual harassment, such as inappropriate gestures or touching, puts an employer at serious risk of lawsuits. More overtly hostile and unfair treatment, such as wrongfully terminating a worker in response to the latter filing a legitimate complaint, puts the employer at a similar risk.
Protecting Employees From Injury
Over 3 million workplace illnesses and injuries were reported in 2013 alone. It is difficult to overstate the importance of providing and maintaining a safe work environment. Negligence in this area may cause serious problems for the employer. This is particularly true in cases where employers challenge a worker’s compensation claim that ought to be rewarded by the employer’s liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Injuries, which result from deliberate action or negligence, may also go beyond requiring the employer to issue worker’s compensation, putting the employer at risk of a lawsuit.
This articles was written by Daniel Calder at Examiner.com.