Reduce the Chances of a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit By Following These Tips

wrongful termination, Wheaton business law attorneyIf you are a business owner, you are probably an extremely busy person. The last thing you need is to deal with an employee suing you for alleged wrongful termination. Not only are wrongful termination lawsuits stressful and time consuming, they can also be extremely expensive. The average amount received by terminated employees in a wrongful termination or employment discrimination claim is just over $37,000. Most wrongful termination claims involve an allegation that the employer breached the employment contract or that the termination somehow violated a state or federal employment law. One of the best ways to avoid a discrimination suit or wrongful termination claim is to follow proper procedures when firing employees.

Make Sure All Employees Understand the Company’s Policies

Employees should be fully aware of the company’s policies regarding employee expectations, discipline, and termination. Many employers find that writing policies and procedures in a comprehensive employee handbook is one way to ensure that employees have a written record of rules and expectations. An experienced business lawyer is a tremendously valuable resource when it comes to formulating an employee handbook that gives you the best chances of avoiding a lawsuit.

Conduct Performance Reviews and Document Everything

Unless an employee has committed an especially egregious act that necessitates an immediate termination, firing an employee should be a last resort. An employee who is underperforming should be made aware of the ways in which he or she is not meeting expectations and given guidance on how to improve. Conducting regular performance reviews is a great way to let an employee know when he or she is missing the mark. Make sure you keep documentation of the dates of these reviews, what was discussed during the reviews, and how you and supervisory staff have made efforts to help the struggling employee.

Have a Witness Present at the Termination Meeting

If you have reason to suspect that the employee will not take the termination well or that he or she will attempt to bring a discrimination or wrongful termination claim to spite you, have a witness present during the termination meeting. If you have human resources staff, make sure a member of your HR team is present. If you do not have a dedicated human resources worker, ask a higher-lever employee to sit in on the meeting. A witness will be able to corroborate your version of the events if there is an allegation that you said something you did not actually say during the meeting.

Contact a Wheaton Business Lawyer

For help drafting employment agreements, company policies, hiring practices, and employment handbooks, contact an experienced DuPage County business law attorney from Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. We will help you formulate company policies and contracts that give you the best chances of avoid any future business litigation. If you are the subject of a wrongful termination claim, we will aggressively advocate on your behalf. Call our office at 630-665-2500 and schedule a confidential consultation.

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/344232

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-to-fire-an-employee.html

How to Protect Your Business from Personal Injury Lawsuits

injury, Wheaton business lawyersIf you own a business, there is a good chance that your employees, suppliers, vendors, and, obviously, your customers will regularly on your property. You will, undoubtedly, work hard to protect the well-being of each person who visits your business and to give them a safe and comfortable experience at your place of business.

Unfortunately, however, accidents do happen from time to time, and when they occur, people are sometimes injured. Believe it or not, injury-causing accidents can even occur on your property, leaving you potentially open to a personal injury claim. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to limit your possible liability if someone is even injured while visiting or working at your company.

Proactive Measures

The best way to limit your personal injury liability, of course, is to prevent accidents from happening as much as possible. This means that you need to have preventive measures in place against potential injuries instead of reacting to accidents when they occur. Such preventive measures generally include comprehensive safety policies, procedures, and protocols throughout your business.

You should also identify possible areas of concern, such as doorways with mats on the floor that could become a tripping hazard. Similarly, understand and anticipate weather-related issues, such as accumulations of snow and ice and damage caused to your parking lots and walkways by exposure to the elements.

Necessary but dangerous maintenance activities should be conducted outside of your peak customer hours, for sure, and outside of business hours completely if possible. Making repairs, mopping floors, and replacing light bulbs in the ceiling, for example, can most likely be done before you open or after you close for the day.

Constant Vigilance

Having a plan is great, but you need to implement it and make it part of your business culture. If safety is a common topic that is addressed through regular communication, training sessions, and meetings, it will never be far from your team’s minds. Be open to safety ideas from every single member of your staff. If an idea will reduce the chance of an accident, it should not matter who came up with it—get it implemented as soon as you can.

Your safety policies should be clearly written out in your employee handbook, which should define the responsibilities of each person in your company for preventing injury-causing accidents. You might also consider including safety violations in your company’s disciplinary policy, as well as offering incentives for meeting safety-related goals. While you might not be able to stop every accident, actions such as these can demonstrate that you are not negligent in regard to safety.

Adequate Insurance

If you have employees, you must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover them in the event of a work-related injury. However, there is no state or federal requirement for your company to have commercial liability insurance. Without liability insurance, a single accident could potentially bankrupt you and your company. Before you speak to an insurance broker, talk to a qualified attorney. A broker is going to try to sell you policies based on the commission that he or she will receive, while your lawyer will objectively help you determine your potential risks and the amount of liability protection you need. Then you can find the liability policy or policies that offer the desired level of security.

Call a Wheaton Business Law Attorney

At Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, our experienced DuPage County business lawyers can help you protect yourself and your company in the event of an injury-causing accident. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team today.

 

Source:

https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/iwcc/resources/Pages/faq.aspx

Examining the Pros and Cons of a Written Employment Contract

Illinois business law attorneysWhile the state of Illinois is considered an "at-will" employment state – meaning either employer or employee may terminate the relationship without cause or reason – there are situations in which an employment contract may be necessary. What are these situations, and what potential pitfalls might you, the employer, face? The following explains the potential advantages and disadvantages to written employment contracts.

When Might a Contract Be Necessary?

Employment contracts are often most useful when employers need to protect themselves from the potential of competition, revealing of trade secrets, or problematic employees. However, some companies also use them to entice highly desired employees. For example, an employer might offer a pre-determined salary increase over a five-year time period; putting it in writing may mean the difference between hiring a top-rated employee and losing that employee to your competitor.

Potential Advantages of Employment Contracts

Probably the biggest advantage to employment contracts is the ability control an employee – be it through ensuring they do not share trade secrets or compete against you, or simply ensuring you have clear grounds for termination, should the employee fail to perform their duties as expected. However, there are other potential benefits as well. A contract can also protect you from litigation for wrongful termination, and it offers the ability to clearly define your expectations of the employee.

Potential Disadvantages to Employment Contracts

Although the benefits to an employment contract are notable, there are some disadvantages as well. One of the most concerning is the way a contract may limit your flexibility. For example, if your company undergoes significant changes, or you need to terminate the employee for reasons outside of those outlined in the contract (i.e. no longer needing the employee), you may run into trouble.

This is why it is critical to discuss the possible pros and cons of using an employment contract with your attorney. Further, you should ensure you seek guided assistance in the drafting of that contract, should you decide to use one.

Contact Our DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

At Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, we take the time to understand the unique challenges of our clients and their businesses. In every situation, we strive to find creative solutions to meet their needs. Learn how we can help your company. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule a consultation with our DuPage County business law attorneys today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2389&ChapterID=68