Sometimes, HR pros can be sued personally, putting their own assets at risk. It’s a serious problem that demands fast action:
1. Contact counsel. Talk to your organization’s legal office and your attorney immediately. Lawsuits include strict time limits in which you must answer. Missing a deadline can mean instant liability.
2. Contact your employer’s insurance carrier. Insurers often provide attorneys and work closely with in-house counsel to prepare a defense. If you carry individual liability coverage, contact your insurance agent.
3. Clarify who will defend you. Find out if your employer will supply and pay for your defense. Most companies will stand behind you if you were acting on their behalf. If you have an employment contract, review it to see if you’ll be indemnified for any damages you are ordered to pay. If you have no written contract, try to secure the organization’s intentions in writing.
Final tip: If the case settles, make sure the settlement covers your personal liability as well as the organization’s. This is another reason to have the documents reviewed by a separate attorney—one who represents only your interests.