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February 16, 2024

Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” However, when addressing employment-related legal disputes, some opt to pay a high price for a cure by waiting until they are sued before seeking help from employment litigation firms.

The cost of waiting until you or your company is sued goes beyond dollars and cents. There is the anxiety that accompanies not knowing how your legal matter will get resolved, as well as the time missed from work to attend hearings and depositions and the impact a lawsuit can have on your company’s morale.

Retaining an employment litigation firm’s services now, before your company is in any legal jeopardy, is the most cost-effective prevention for an HR professional. A skilled and knowledgeable law firm can look for potential legal vulnerabilities and help you address them now — often for a fraction of the cost of litigating issues later.

Vulnerable Areas Employment Litigation Firms Can Address

Unless you are well-versed in California employment law, you are likely unaware of the many acts, omissions, and policies you and your business can commit that can subject you to a lawsuit.

Experienced employment litigation firms are not only familiar with these potential liabilities but can also work with you to correct them before they cause you legal headaches. Some potential liabilities that an employer lawyer can protect you against include:

Employee Hiring Practices

One of your most significant potential vulnerabilities relates to your initial interactions with your workers. From the questions and information you solicit during interviews to the training and equipment you provide, there is an abundance of opportunities for you to unintentionally violate employees’ civil rights.

Violating Title VII protections, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or similar state and federal laws can be especially dangerous for your business’s bottom line. These statutes often have statutory penalties that can be assessed against you regardless of any harm the employee suffered, irrespective of your intentions.

Contract Drafting and Negotiations

Contracts themselves are supposed to help your company avoid litigation. By spelling out what duties each party in a transaction is supposed to perform and the penalties for not doing so, a well-drafted contract can provide clarity and certainty about an offer of employment.

Unfortunately, contracts are often not well-drafted, which can lead to court hearings and litigation. Drafting a clear contract begins with determining the precise terms of the employment agreement.

You and a prospective employee should clearly understand what you can expect from one another and what happens if your agreement is broken. This step is especially important if the prospective employee has unique skills or will have access to trade secrets.

Having a skilled negotiator is only part of the solution, though. It then takes an experienced employer lawyer to put the agreement in writing in the form of a contract. Ambiguous language, omitted terms, or illegal provisions can all render a contract unenforceable and worthless.

Workplace Culture and Hostile Work Environments

The preventive services of employment litigation firms extend to reviewing and counseling you about your company’s work environment. You may not personally commit sexual harassment or retaliate against whistleblowers. However, if your company fosters an environment where others feel free to do these things, your business can be held responsible.

Having a seasoned lawyer examine how your workplace operates and how your employees and managers interact with one another can uncover problematic behaviors. These behaviors could include:

  • Employees who feel free to harass or demean others
  • Working conditions that some could find discriminatory or humiliating
  • Hazing
  • Managers who give preferential treatment to some employees over others
  • Whistleblowers who feel too frightened by the specter of retaliation to come forward and report matters

If left unaddressed, these working conditions can fester and become more poisonous to your company’s culture and brand. Morale at your business can also suffer if these behaviors are not dealt with definitively.

Job Descriptions and Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act might require you to make reasonable accommodations for employees who are otherwise qualified for a job but who have a disability. Accommodations must be made for these employees unless they would present a significant burden for you to make.

Knowing when you would be required to make an accommodation and when you would not is difficult to decide when you do not know what the essential functions of the job are. Job descriptions protect you by advertising what an employee must be able to do to hold down a particular job with your company.

You can then more confidently decide whether a proposed accommodation would allow a disabled employee to perform in that role. An employer lawyer can help guide your decision based on applicable laws.

Employee Discipline and Termination

Your potential liability for employee-related issues does not end once you have hired someone. You can run afoul of some of the same federal and state laws when disciplining your employees and terminating their employment as you can when hiring them.

Employers and HR departments who speak with employment litigation firms before an issue with an employee arises can learn strategies for handling these delicate matters. While these preventive measures may not keep all disgruntled employees from filing a lawsuit, they can dramatically reduce the likelihood of such cases resulting in prolonged litigation.

An Employer Lawyer Can Effectively Protect Your Business

For many businesses in California, the question is not whether they will face an employment-related legal challenge but when. The employer-employee relationship is fraught with opportunities for employees’ rights to be violated and for employers to fail to honor their legal obligations to their workers.

However, when companies hire employment litigation firms as a preventive measure, the outcomes of future lawsuits are often more favorable to the employer. Some claims may not even survive initial motions to dismiss if the right preventive strategies are employed based on an employer lawyer’s guidance and suggestions.

Ensure your business’s legal well-being in California by proactively addressing employment challenges with Pearlman, Brown & Wax, LLP. Our experienced attorneys offer preventive strategies that not only protect against lawsuits but also create a positive work environment. Contact us today!


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