Member Insights by The Donahey Law Firm
As a business owner you pour your heart and soul into your business. You are consistently looking out for your company’s best interests as well as your employees and vendors. Your worst fear? Wronging an employee, at fault or not, and in-turn facing a lawsuit. Protect yourself, your company and your employees with this step-by-step guide and avoid making critical mistakes which will invariably cost you time and money.
Review the Lawsuit
Before you can move forward, it is imperative to understand in full the nature of the lawsuit and the claims against your company. Take the time to look over the lawsuit in-depth. Be mindful of important dates and deadlines. Whether you were at fault or not, whatever you do, do not ignore the lawsuit. Ignoring the claims against you or failing to respond to the lawsuit forfeits your case and your employee wins.
Once you’ve read over your lawsuit and understand why an employee may be suing you, collect all documentation pertinent to your case. Proper documentation not only presents your side of the case but is attainable evidence that may be the key to winning your case.
Contact your attorney
Once you’ve acknowledged your lawsuit and understand the claims against your company, contact your attorney. Your attorney will be well versed in employment law and able to advise next steps as well as provide legal counsel.
Do not contact the employee
The ability to settle issues amicably ended when the employee pursued legal action. Communicating with the employee will only harm you. It is important to leave all communication between employer and employee to the legal counsels for both sides. Any communication exchanged, including verbal, email, social or text may be used against you and will only hinder your lawsuit.
Contact your insurance provider
Most business insurance providers offer lawsuit coverage. Contact your insurance provider to review your lawsuit. In the event that lawsuits are protected by your insurance carrier, attorney fees, court fees even settlements may be covered.
Know the law
Familiarizing yourself with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will not only help you understand your rights as an employer but those of your employee. Further understanding these laws will help you understand why employees may feel the need to seek legal action and help you protect your company against future lawsuits.
Above all else, do not lose sight of the fact that you have a business to focus on and continue to run. Lawsuits may be intimidating but with the help of your attorney and by following each of these steps carefully, you will protect your company and its reputation.