Tag: disputes

Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Avoiding Wrongful Termination Lawsuits

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In the course of running a business, an employer can face many kinds of complaints from employees. As stressful and frustrating as this can be, you can go a long way towards reducing your liability risk with proper preparation. Among other things, you should be prepared for employee complaints and the possibility of wrongful termination allegations. Here, our California employer defense attorney highlights four steps that businesses and organizations can take to help avoid wrongful termination lawsuits, thereby saving the time, stress, and money associated with litigation.

  • Create Clear Grounds for Discipline and a Termination Policy

Your business or organization should have a clear policy in place regarding discipline and removal of employees. The termination policy should be clearly communicated to workers. Simply defined, a termination policy should set grounds for “discipline up to and including termination”. You should also get the termination policy down in writing. Although even a well-crafted termination policy cannot prevent every claim, an effective policy will help you avoid facing legal liability.

  • Set Expectations for Employees and Conduct Annual Performance Reviews

Every employee should understand what is expected from them in the workplace. Beyond ensuring that workers know what they need to do, it is imperative that your company conducts regular performance reviews. For most companies, an annual performance review is sufficient. To be clear, California law does not require annual performance appraisals.

Nonetheless, reviews are an excellent tool for employers because they can help the employee understand the workplace expectations and what they need to do to improve. Further, a performance review can serve as a form of documentary proof of an employee’s lacking performance and disciplinary issues should termination be necessary.

Caveat: Employers should beware of the fact that a performance review could potentially be used against them in a wrongful termination claim. If an employee has a history of glowing, positive reviews and is suddenly terminated, there may be a dispute.

  • Follow California’s Supervisor Training Requirements

Under California law, employers with 5 or more employees must provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to nonsupervisory employees and 2 hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to supervisors and managers once every two years.  The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing provides the required training free on their website. As a business owner, it is crucial that you make sure that all supervisors and all employees meet the state’s training requirements.

  • Follow State and Federal Employment Laws

Finally, employers should have a strong understanding of the federal and state laws designed to protect workers. This includes everything from the laws barring discrimination to laws protecting employees from unfair wage and hour law practices. Most federal and state employment laws also prohibit retaliation from an employer when the employee exercises their rights under the law.

Contact a Fremont, CA Business Law Attorney for Immediate Help

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is a skilled, experienced advocate for clients. Our law firm will help you develop effective methods for responding to wrongful termination claims and defending against these claims in court.

If you have any questions about avoiding wrongful termination lawsuits, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today for a strictly confidential initial consultation. We represent employers in Fremont, CA and near Newark, Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, and Santa Clara.

disputes, employees, running a business

Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Resolving Employee Disputes Before You are Sued

business employment policies

Preventing employee lawsuits and other legal claims is more challenging than you might think for a business. When your company is experiencing a staff problem such as an employee who continually comes in late, frequently takes days off, or is not performing his or her job, your first inclination may be to terminate that person.

Confusion Surrounding “At Will” Employment

Many employers believe that because employment is “at will,” meaning an employee may be terminated with or without cause, that their actions against an employee are justified. However, even when the employment relationship is “at will,” some employers hold on to problem employees out of fear that the employee will make a claim against them or sue them for workplace discrimination.

A situation such as this is difficult to resolve without support from legal counsel. If you are facing this challenge, it is important to seek legal advice from an attorney as to the proper way to terminate employment and to understand fully the legal risks associated with such a termination.

Legal Counsel for Employers Resolving Employee Disputes

An experienced California employer lawyer can assist your business by:

  • Reviewing your documentation
  • Helping you with your discipline process
  • Determining whether an employee has a protective status (i.e.: federal and state sick leave laws, disability laws, Title VII laws, etc.)
  • Evaluating what types of claim an employee could make, and the status of your company’s documentation to fight such a claim.

Often, we find that employers take action first and then belatedly seek legal advice when the employee makes a claim. 

At this point, employers often realize that it is costly to resolve a claim after mistakes have been made. A knowledgeable employment law attorney cannot change the facts but will defend the employer and try to get the best outcome, minimizing monetary and reputational damage.

Relevant and timely legal advice regarding employment issues helps minimize problems before they arise. An attorney can help you understand the various federal, state, and local employment laws and make critical changes to your business practices to avoid further claims in the future.

The Importance of Documentation

Any employment conflict could potentially result in litigation. It is important that you, as an employer, comply with California law in all aspects of your business’s employment policies and procedures, including such items as policy training, complaint investigations, hiring and promotion practices, management development, and employee training. You must also keep documentation of these as proof that you are following California law. Your good faith efforts to prevent employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and maintain a safe working environment may serve you well – creating a shield or defense to employee litigation.

If you are an employer in the East Bay Area including the communities of Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Milpitas, or Newark, California seek legal advice and counsel of a local business lawyer today.

disputes, employees

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Serving Businesses and Start Ups in the Greater Bay Area including Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Castro Valley, Milpitas, and Newark, CA.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.