HR professionals are not lawyers - not even close. We can help keep you out of legal trouble, but in some cases, it is a best practice to hire a licensed attorney. You should already have a relationship with a local employment law firm because many of these concerns are time-sensitive and you will need their guidance immediately. Here are some examples:
• Upon receipt of a letter from an attorney representing a current or former employee
• If you receive an EEOC complaint
• Before terminating an employee for performance reasons or due to a workforce reduction
• If you receive a phone call or visit from a state or federal agency doing an investigation of your workplace practices
• After a situation that involved workplace violence
• When an employee claims that you are breaking local, state, or federal law
• If an employee claims they are not being paid correctly for overtime
• In the case of a serious workplace injury or death
• When you are served with a lawsuit
• When you are in need of employment law-related training (examples include harassment, new federal or state laws to be aware of, non-compete agreements, recruitment practices, etc.)
Don’t try to save money and solve the above issues on your own. Enlist the help of an attorney asap! This will save you a lot of money and headaches in the long run.
You can reduce liability by taking the following steps:
- Have written policies that are followed consistently.
- Conduct ongoing training for supervisors and managers.
- Document all performance-related activities.
- Conduct quick and thorough investigations.
- Treat employees in a fair and respectful manner.
- Enforce an open door policy throughout all levels of the organization.