For small business owners, being involved in a lawsuit can means huge case-related costs, lost income, and defamation of their business. Here are the steps every small business owner should take to avoid being involved in a lawsuit:
1. Sufficiently Train Your Employees
Adequately train your employees to safely complete the tasks inherent to their job; employees must be taught company procedure, clean-up procedure, to properly use equipment, etc. It is also your job as an employer to train your employees on how to properly react to and report an emergency situation, and what safety issues are inherent in the work place. For instance, if you own a coffee shop, you must teach your employees while training them about the burns they can sustain from the coffee equipment and how to react if they do sustain a burn.
2. Set Up a Safe Business Environment
Always provide employees with the proper equipment they need to do their job safely and effectively. Do periodic checks of your facilities to ensure that there are no safety hazards, such as loose carpeting, gas leaks, electrical issues, etc. If there are safety hazards that are unavoidable in your business, adequately mark them as such with signs so that employees, clients, and/or customers are aware of the hazards. Have stations set up throughout the office specifically for emergencies. For instance, if your business is one where employees could get dangerous chemicals in their eyes, have an eye washing station.
3. Develop An Employee Handbook
Developing an employee handbook is imperative in a work environment; such a handbook establishes employee vacation policies, how the company deals with sexual harassment, how employees can report concerns/issues to management, general employee rights, etc. It generally establishes employees’ rights and your rights as an employer, and it will offer you protection in the event of a lawsuit.
4. Be Fair To Your Employees
Pay your employees on-time, every time, and “on the books.” Pay them for the vacation time you’ve promised them, don’t allow employees to work after-hours without pay, and always give them the benefits you promised, e.g. health insurance. Failure to compensate employees fairly or as promised could lead to a personal injury claim for discriminatory pay practices or unpaid wages.
Allison Dean is a guest blogger bringing to us tips for avoiding involvement in business-related personal injury lawsuits. Allison’s career concentrates on personal injury law, but more specifically on medical malpractice. She spends much of her time writing educational articles to help lawpersons determine when and how to seek a medical malpractice lawyer.