Federal labor regulations are complex, and it's possible for your business to violate them unknowingly. Failure to comply with regulations opens your business up to lawsuits from current and former employees, which can bring negative media attention to your business and cause significant financial harm. If you're unfamiliar with labor regulations, it's a good idea to consult an employer attorney to make sure that your business is following them and that the proper business processes are in place to help shield your business from lawsuits. Here's what you can learn from an employer attorney in order to help your business avoid lawsuits from employees whose labor rights were accidentally violated.
Proper Documentation of Hours Worked and Wages Paid
Wage and hour lawsuits are common in labor and unemployment law and can result from failing to pay employees appropriately for hours worked or even failing to document them correctly. An employee who files a lawsuit against your business for lost wages will typically receive more money in a judgment against your business than the amount of the lost wages. If a number of your employees band together and file a class action lawsuit against your business for lost wages, the judgment amount may be enough to entirely cripple your operations.
An employer attorney can audit your business's employment records, ensuring that you're not violating wage and hour laws and that you're keeping adequate records to protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit.
Compliance With Federal Labor Regulations
Strict compliance with federal regulations such as the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act is necessary in order to protect your business from lawsuits filed by your employees. Complying with federal labor standards requires you to maintain meticulous records and also requires you to train your managerial staff well in order to avoid violating these regulations.
For example, an employee who requests extended time off due to a chronic illness or to care for a very sick family member is most likely covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and it's the responsibility of your business to uphold the rights of your employees — if a manager approves the time off but fails to notify the employee that the leave is covered under the FMLA, they risk violating these regulations. If the employee's absence later leads to disciplinary action or not being selected for a promotion, they very likely have a legal case against you.
An employer attorney can help your business comply with federal guidelines by ensuring that all of your management staff is well-trained and that your business is using the correct processes to handle employees claiming protection under federal labor regulations.
Recording Employee Performance Reviews and Preventing Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
Wrongful termination is another common legal action that employees level against employers. Employees can claim that they were terminated due to discrimination, and employers need an affirmative defense in the form of performance reviews and documentation of workplace incidents that may have played a role in the termination of that employee. When you work with an employer attorney, you'll learn how to keep records of employee performance that provide you with a legal defense for wrongful termination lawsuits.
As a business, it's your duty to maintain the labor rights of your employees — you can be sued even if your employees' rights are accidentally violated. Because of this, it's important to work with an employer attorney to ensure that your business is following all labor standards and keeping proper documentation in order to avoid legal action. Employer attorneys are professionals in the area of labor and employment law, and they can help you check your business for compliance and institute processes that protect your business from any potential lawsuit from an employee.