Owning or managing a business is always a challenge – and mistakes can happen – particularly when managing staff. Did you know that even seemingly trivial “mistakes” can have large adverse financial consequences?
Here are five such mistakes employers should seek to avoid:
- Playing favorites. Do you employ a diverse workforce? It’s critically important that workplace rules and regulations be enforced equally with every member of your staff. Failure to do so can lead to claims of unlawful discrimination and complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- Neglecting to pay overtime. Many employees in Connecticut fall into the category of being “non-exempt” – entitling them to overtime pay. Failing to pay overtime fairly to this class of workers can be costly – particularly if a large number of employees band together in a lawsuit against you.
- Failing to document performance issues. If you are like some employers, you may all too often turn the other way when an employee’s performance fails to meet your expectations – hoping it will improve on its own over time. After all – your employees are adults and should be able to self-correct – right? Sadly – a failure to document an employee’s missteps is often problematic – particularly if you eventually decide to fire that employee for cause. These events often lead to claims of wrongful treatment/discrimination and costly lawsuits.
- Failure to accommodate. As you know, the lives and health of your employees change over time. Did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers work to reasonably accommodate the disabling conditions of their employees? Aren’t sure an accommodation is reasonable? You need to ensure you make good faith efforts to reach that determination, or you may face legal action.
- Turning a blind eye to bullying. As an employer, you’ve probably had instances when one employee or group of employees decided to bully another employee. Just because such conduct is not tied to race, sex or some other protected class (and, therefore, is not unlawful) doesn’t mean allowing the bullying to continue is good business practice. Juries often decide in favor of employees who demonstrate they were unfairly bullied at work — regardless of whether the behavior amounted to an unlawful hostile work environment – and their decisions can be expensive.
As a general rule, it’s vitally important that employers understand all workplace laws and regulations and make sure their managers receive training in these matters so that simple and often costly errors can be avoided.
If you are an employer in Connecticut have questions about labor or employment law, contact the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale. Each of us has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of employment law and labor law and can help you with this complicated topic. Please contact us if we can help you.
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