It’s one thing for you to face a customer complaint, but another thing entirely to find out you’re being sued by a former or even current employee. When customers complain about a product or service, you can send your best public relations team to deal with the impact on your brand and reputation. But it’s another story entirely if your own employees are complaining about you. That tells something about your management style. People in your industry will never look at you the same way again. Pray tell, what are the best ways to deal with legal troubles from your employees?
Know Your Business
More than anything else, it’s important to know your business inside and out. This means you are sure there is nothing in your store or warehouse that can put your employees in physical danger. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), warehouse employees face several strenuous and dangerous activities that threaten their health. Every year, the British Safety Council records around 1,300 cases of forklift accidents, many of whom face serious physical injuries.
How safe is your workplace? How sure are you that your company will not face a spinal cord injury lawyer because one of your employees suffered a fall and broke his spine? Spinal cord injuries are the most serious kinds of injuries caused by falling or slipping accidentally. The result can range from fractures to debilitating spinal cord damage.
Make it part of your routine to check your workplace policies, guidelines, and safety protocols. Ensure that these practices are always up to the latest standards. Though accidents can happen to any business, the impact is less than what you expect if you take the time to put proper measures in place.
Addressing Legal Issues from Employees
When faced with a legal complaint from employees, you must read the complaint with your lawyer. Ask any questions you might have about why you are facing this legal problem. The simplest thing in the workplace can boomerang back to you. Try to remember the facts of the complaint. Make sure the direct supervisor of the complainant is with you. The human resource manager should be there, too, to guide the discussions.
Is this a new complaint? Was the issue raised to you before? If yes, why didn’t you take action? What was your initial reaction to the first complaint filed? If this is a new complaint, why didn’t the management reach out to the employee to fix these things without going to court?
Once you have a pretty good picture of why an employee complained to you, you can come up with concrete action. Let your lawyers guide you through this plan. How involved are you in ensuring that your lawyers take the right action against the complaint? Remember that as long as you’re in the right, there’s no use to be overly aggressive about your stand. Make sure your brand and reputation won’t suffer.
Should you settle? Your lawyers will have an opinion about settling. When it comes to your business, things are a little different. Although your lawyers feel that you will win the case, is the public’s perception the same? Or, even after you have won, the public will not look at your business the same way again.
Preventing Employee Complaints in the Future
Dealing with one employee complaint is bad enough. Dealing with two or three or several other complaints is exhausting. It will take the energy out of you. Instead of creating an action plan against employee complaints, why don’t you find ways to prevent it from happening in the future?
Employees must know you are willing to listen to them. This means that even amid the busiest time of the year, your employees can reach out to you to complain about the workplace or what-not. If they don’t feel safe in the office or the warehouse, you should know about that. This way, you can address the issues before they blow up. However, this is only a great approach if you have a small business. A bigger business means a lot of employees, and a lot of employees means you’ll spend your day meeting with them.
Periodic Employee Meetings
The better approach is to have periodic employee meetings. The objective of this meeting is to let your employees know that they can complain about the workload, safety protocols, compensation, and anything under the sun. This is when you thresh out these important issues. Although some complaints are better discussed with only the parties involved, a periodic meeting will quiet down these complaints.
Don’t be afraid to know everything about your business. Neglecting your business is the escapist’s route. Face problems head-on, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for you. When it comes to legal trouble, let the professionals deal with that, although you should always be in-the-know, too.