Running a business these days is certainly no picnic, thanks to the still-struggling economy and near-constant employment law risk. Management must maintain that perfect balance of awareness and action - or find themselves on the receiving end of a costly, potentially crippling lawsuit.
According to Shanti Atkins, Esq., president and CEO of ELT, the biggest employment law concerns plaguing employers today are:
1) Discrimination. And the claims aren't predominantly sexual harassment anymore, but also sexual orientation, religious and disability discrimination. Are your anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies in order and, even more important, are you training your managers and staff - thoroughly and regularly?
2) Violence and bullying. Did you know that approximately 20 percent of all violent crime occurs in the workplace? This is no time to ignore bullying and other threatening behavior that could escalate into something more dangerous. Be on the lookout for early warning signs and encourage employees to report concerns immediately so that you can respond appropriately.
3) Wage and hour violations. Perhaps the biggest risk of them all, wage and hour class action lawsuits have expoded. In fact, these claims account for a whopping 84 percent of all employment class action lawsuits. Just as alarming, the Department of Labor (DOL) estimates that more than 80 percent of employers are out of compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws. Not knowing is no excuse. Make sure you're educated on the latest Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines and that you carefully explore any gray areas.