Running a business is a complex task, with many different moving parts to keep track of. If you can’t afford to hire in-house counsel or a human resources department quite yet, you may be handling the human resources tasks yourself. Here are some common mistakes that business owners in your position often run into – and how you can make sure to avoid them for your company.
Not keeping up-to-date on employment laws
There are many regulations, both federal and state, that you will have to comply with once you begin hiring other people. It’s important to understand things such as the minimum wage that you must pay them, the types of benefits you must offer them, the types of insurance policies you must maintain and how to handle overtime.
These areas of the law are ever-changing. It’s best to stay informed as to changes in the law so that you do not risk a lawsuit or fine for unintentional violation.
Inadequate sexual harassment and safety training
If one of your employees sexually harasses another one of your employees, you could be on the hook for a lawsuit – even if you had nothing to do with the harassment – if you can’t show that you took steps to train your employees properly and had an adequate protocol in place to deal with the incident.
The best way to be able to protect your employees from harassment – and your company from liability – is to put in place a thorough and mandatory sexual harassment training policy.
Likewise, proper safety training can go a long way towards preventing workplace accidents, and towards protecting your company from liability in the event that they do occur.
Lack of documentation of performance issues
If you fire an employee for cause, they may be disgruntled enough to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit against your company. They may even allege that your decision to terminate them was based on race, gender or other statutorily protected characteristics.
If this happens to you, your defense to the accusations will depend heavily upon your ability to demonstrate the true reason why you decided to fire this employee. That is when having a thoroughly documented record of their performance issues will be critical.
Every business owner makes mistakes when trying to get their company to grow in a healthy direction. Avoiding some of the more costly mistakes can give your company the financial breathing room it needs to thrive.