How California Employers Can Minimize or Avoid Employment Lawsuits

The attorneys of Theta Law Firm help clients reduce or completely avoid employment disputes and lawsuits. Feel free to give us a call for a quick consultation on employment issues affecting your business.

Unhappy employees (current and former) and even job applicants sue employers frequently. Employers can minimize their lawsuit exposure and effectively defend those that are filed by understanding what gives rise to employment lawsuits and working to reduce the possible grounds for liability. The following are some basic tips to avoid and minimize litigation in various scenarios:

Scenario #1: Applicant who believes he/she deserved the job
  • Have a formal procedure for interviewing applicants and make sure your interviewers abide by it consistently.
  • Include objective job applicant qualifications in the job posting description!
Scenario #2: Employee who is unhappy about being punished
  • Establish written employee conduct guidelines.
  • Promulgate a disciplinary procedure with gradual punishments (step 1: write up, step 2:..., step 3:..., etc.)
  • Make sure the employees who implement the disciplinary procedures do so consistently.
  • Document everything.
Scenario #3: Employee who claims discrimination
  • First and foremost: train your supervisors not to discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, and marital status.
  • Have written policies against discrimination and have all employees review them!
Scenario #4: Employee claims he/she was fired because of sickness or injury
  • Establish and publish sick time/leave policies consistent with applicable law!
  • Consistently enforce those policies.
  • Document everything.
Scenario #5: Employee claims harassment
  • Establish a written policy against harassment and discrimination. The policies should include a procedure by which complaints can be filed.
  • Immediately address any complaints that are filed.
  • Consistently enforce your policies.
Scenario #6: Disabled employee believes that he/she wasn't provided accommodation
  • Establish written procedures for employees to request accommodation (make sure all employees get a copy of the procedures!).
  • Make sure all requests for accommodations are documented.
  • Respond to requests for accommodation promptly.
Scenario #7: Employee claims adverse action was taken because he/she was sick or injured
  • You guessed it: established written policies for taking sick time and medical leave.
  • Document requests for sick time/leave.
  • Enforce your policies consistently.
Scenario #8: Employee claims that the employer retaliated against him/her
  • Make sure that your managers are trained on whistleblower protections.
  • Establish and consistently enforce policies for taking adverse employment actions against any employee.
  • Document legitimate reasons for taking adverse employment actions.
  • Require documentation for adverse employment action.
There are of course many other potential scenarios that can lead to costly litigation that all employers should be mindful of--too many to list here. Employers should seek the advice of legal counsel before minor disputes turn into expensive lawsuits!

Short Summary: How does your company avoid employment litigation?

1. Establish written procedures that follow the letter of the law and require requests by employees to be submitted in writing.
2. Enforce the written policies consistently.
3. Document occurrences/requests where necessary.
4. Train your employees on the law, particularly those with the authority to make decisions on employment matters!

You can reach an attorney at Theta Law Firm by calling us or sending us an email at Theta Law Firm can represent clients all across the State of California, including in any of the following counties: Alameda | Alpine | Amador | Butte | Calaveras | Colusa | Contra Costa | Del Norte | El Dorado | Fresno | Glenn | Humboldt | Imperial | Inyo | Kern | Kings | Lake | Lassen | Los Angeles | Madera | Marin | Mariposa | Mendocino | Merced | Modoc | Mono | Monterey | Napa | Nevada | Orange | Placer | Plumas | Riverside | Sacramento | San Benito | San Bernardino | San Diego | San Francisco | San Joaquin | San Luis Obispo | San Mateo | Santa Barbara | Santa Clara | Santa Cruz | Shasta | Sierra | Siskiyou | Solano | Sonoma | Stanislaus | Sutter | Tehama | Trinity | Tulare | Tuolumne | Ventura | Yolo | Yuba