As a business owner, you hope to have good relationships with your employees. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that at some point in time most employers will face a lawsuit from an employee or former employee. While you can’t prevent employees from suing, here are the Dos and Don’ts to help you get through the lawsuit and protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build.
Do call your attorney as soon as possible: employment laws are complicated and often favor the employee. Your attorney will help you determine how serious the lawsuit is and whether you should fight it or settle.
Do call your insurance company: your policy might not cover employee disputes, but if it does, you need to notify your insurer immediately. Not filing a claim guarantees you won’t be covered.
Do collect and save important information: important information can come from other employees, such as supervisors, or from performance reviews and company policies, just to name a few.
Don’t panic: knee-jerk reactions can cause more problems than the original lawsuit. Instead, talk to your attorney and let them help you figure out what to do next.
Don’t apologize: it might be tempting to plead your case or smooth things over with an employee who sues, but you can bet that anything you say will be used by the employee’s attorney. On the other hand…
Don’t retaliate: retaliating (like firing an employee who sues or making it difficult for them to work for you) gives the employee another claim to add to their lawsuit and makes it look like you have something to hide.
Even if you treat employees fairly, you can’t prevent them from suing. Instead, knowing how to handle the situation if an employee does sue will protect you and your business.