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Alert managers to new personal liability risks

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Lawyers who represent employees, former employees and applicants are getting more creative—and more aggressive.

No longer are they filing lawsuits containing one simple claim. Instead, you’re more likely these days to face a complaint with several claims, including charges that target executives and supervisors separately and personally. That means a manager’s assets could be at risk.

Recent example: When Henry sued his employer, a North Carolina state agency, over missed promotions, he included his managers in the lawsuit as individual de­­­fendants. He did this by alleging they had violated state law concerning negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with a contract.

The court let the individual claims proceed. As a result, those ­supervisors may end up personally liable and, thus, financially responsible for their actions at work. (Parks v. NC Department of Public Safety, ED NC)

Advice: During management training, cite this increasing personal liability risk to help motivate supervisors to follow HR’s advice on discipline, hiring and other issues. While only certain federal laws carry the prospect of personal liability, those include some of the most common trip-ups, like FMLA and overtime law.   


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