Lawsuit-proof your company: 20 tips from HR peers

We recently asked readers whether they’ve been sued by employees and, if so, what single piece of advice would they give to other HR professionals to help them avoid (or respond to) an employee lawsuit. Here are some of their suggestions:.

  1. Document! Document! Document!
  2. Remain completely nonemotional and trust your attorney.
  3. Treat all employees the same.
  4. Follow all directions from your attorney, and keep detailed records.
  5. Stay proactive. If you see a problem, don’t hope it will go away. Address it.
  6. Communicate with employees throughout the process in a respectful manner.
  7. Hire better.
  8. Know the laws. If you aren’t sure, find out.
  9. Keep current on training and employment law. Read articles.
  10. Train managers/supervisors on relevant laws (state and federal). Stay engaged in the daily operations of the business and people. Visibility is most valued by employees.
  11. Adhere to your policies and be fair with all employees. Train your managers.
  12. Be honest, be polite to the investigator and submit all materials within deadlines given.
  13. Know the employment laws—federal and state—and make sure your managers know them, too.
  14. Document every conversation related to medical issues. You never know which one will become a problem a year from now.
  15. Take heed to reports of sexual harassment and workplace bullying.
  16. Find a good lawyer that specializes in employment law.
  17. Keep your policies current, your practices consistent and maintain detailed records.
  18. Understand you cannot prevent all lawsuits. Just be fair, truthful and always follow your own policies.
  19. Maintain constant and open communication with your management staff. Train them in HR best practices and basic labor laws.
  20. Document every “odd” conversation you have with employees.