Complying with Legislation

Employment lawsuits are at unprecedented levels, with no slowdown in sight. And with online filing capabilities, it’s now easier than ever for your employees to take you to court.

99,922. That´s the number of employment lawsuit claims filed in 2010. And that number is 31% higher than in 2006. High profile data breaches alone accounted for 558 instances of litigation in 2011, with an average cost per instance of $7,200,000—and 76% of businesses closing within one year of the judgment.

FMLA, OSHA, HIPAA, ADA, FLSA, Civil Rights, Equal Pay, Age Discrimination—valuable protections, but management landmines. The cost of a misstep can be lethal to an organization. Lawsuits, costly arbitration, devastating publicity—who´s keeping track of compliance, and how effective are the tools they´re using?

Managers are hired or promoted for their expertise in their field, but they also need to pay attention to the dynamic and complex world of legal responsibilities and limitations that—on the surface—seem to have little relevance to the daily task of building and maintaining a well-oiled team. A company that leaves this work to an HR specialist may find out the hard way that legal compliance is everyone’s job.

Managers may be legally justified in inspecting an employee´s email account, but under what circumstances, and what’s the best way to ensure that such an inspection doesn´t violate the employee´s rights? An employer can be held legally responsible for disparaging remarks made by subordinates to one another (even if the manager is unaware of the remarks),1 so how can businesses protect both managers and subordinates? If you send employees to work in another state, whose laws apply to overtime, meals, breaks, wages, and other aspects of work? Federal and state laws can shift underfoot. Organizations may not even be aware what game-changing information their managers are missing.