Employment Litigation and Tips for Preventing Disputes
Updated: Mar 23, 2019
Employment litigation continues to explode in Texas, as the petrochemical industry struggles with cheap oil and the resulting need to scale back work forces. Employment lawsuits may be brought for alleged violations of working conditions, overtime payment laws, company policies or other state or federal employee protection statutes. More specifically, employment disputes are most often brought based on alleged employer violations of:
● Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). ● The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). ● The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). ● Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). ● Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). ● Texas Labor Code.
Employment disputes are something that companies cannot take lightly, since the resulting litigation can have a significant impact on your company’s time, money and reputation. Employment disputes can impact a business in the following ways:
● Litigation for workplace discrimination is costly, both in terms of attorneys’ fees and the potential for a significant verdict against the company at the courthouse. ● Employees can become distrusting or demoralized by the events surrounding the litigation, which can impact the employees’ productivity and quality of work. ● If news about the employment dispute is publicized, customers can show their distaste by not buying from the company in protest. A drop-off in sales can affect the business and its employees. ● When a company has several employment disputes against it, the company can develop a reputation for being discriminatory, or a reputation as being unfair in its treatment of workers. This can in turn lead to challenges in recruiting new talent or retaining skilled employees. When employees witness discrimination in the workplace, or fear retaliation for reporting violations of employee protection laws, employees tend to grow dissatisfied with their jobs and will look for new opportunities elsewhere. Retaining top talent is critical in the science and tech industries.
How to Avoid and Prevent Employment Litigation Disputes
Below are a several tips that businesses can use to try and prevent or avoid employment litigation.
● Evaluate company policies and take steps to minimize risk. Many employment arise from allegations that the company violated state or federal law (e.g., company policy that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Family Medical Leave Act). Companies should regularly review and evaluate their policies to ensure compliance with the current state of the law. Adjustments should be made to company policies as needed. ● Developing proactive policies and practices to avoid potential litigation. ● Make sure employees and managers are up to date on their training. Employees and managers must be adequately educated on the legal requirements that are placed upon them (e.g., avoiding and identifying workplace discrimination, knowing what constitutes sexual harassment, how to recognize retaliation in the workplace, understanding employee and manager responsibilities under the law, etc.). It is good practice to have employees and managers undergo training annually or more frequently, and upon being hired or promoted. ● Mediation can be a good choice. When employment disputes arise, do not underestimate how useful mediation can be in resolving them. Mediation can be an affordable dispute resolution tool that is a more flexible option than resolving the issue through the court system. ● Settle the dispute when it makes sense to settle. There are many times when it makes more sense to settle a case than to have it drag out in court and before the media. A settlement can resolve the issue through compromise, which can get everyone and everything back to work and helping the business profit.
Work with a law firm that has a proven track record of success helping busy companies resolve employment disputes quickly and effectively. Contact The Law Office of Phil Griffis and let us provide you with sound advice and strategies for preventing employment lawsuits, and winning those cases that are brought. Call us at 832-284-4013.