Posted on: March 23, 2016 by Manchester Specialty
One of the biggest risks all organizations face, including home health care agencies, hospices, medical staffing firms, and others, is employee-related lawsuits. These suits involve allegations of discrimination, wrongful termination, overtime disputes, failure to promote, and negligent employee evaluations, among others. Just take a look at some sobering facts on the risk of employee-related suits for employers across industries:
Furthermore, an allegation of discrimination in the workplace can be a huge distraction for an organization. There is the time lost from work by company representatives to meet with lawyers, for taking depositions, and other matters related to the lawsuit. What’s more, the plaintiff will likely still be employed by the company, which may make it difficult for others to concentrate on their work. No matter how the case is resolved, the organization may also suffer a loss of goodwill.
Mitigating Employee-Related Lawsuits with a Comprehensive Employee Handbook
Prevention is the best practice to help mitigate the potential of an employee lawsuit – from having procedures in place involving hiring, employee performance evaluations, benefits, and sexual harassment training to termination policies and much more – all documented in an employee handbook. The employee handbook creates company policies, procedures, and expectations that serve to avoid potential conflicts and misunderstandings. It should be customized for each state in which the organization has operations. All new employees should be provided with the handbook, along with applicable written notification of specific laws where required. In addition, employees should acknowledge in writing that they have received and read the handbook and will comply.
When developing or updating an employee handbook, make sure it includes the following basic components, as recommended by the Small Business Administration (SBA):
The handbook must also include an equal opportunity employment statement and a disclaimer that its provisions do not constitute a contract or a contractual commitment of continued employment. It’s also important to have employment counsel review the handbook before publication and distribution. In addition, the employee handbook should be updated at least every two years so that the information is current, with employees receiving either a revised printed copy or notification when a new electronic version is available.
Along with having an employee handbook to provide valuable legal protection if an employee later challenges a company’s policies in court, be sure to secure Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). EPLI is designed to provide compensation for losses caused by employee lawsuits, including incurred court defense costs and legal fees. Manchester Specialty provides EPLI coverage to home health care providers, hospice and medical staffing firms. Many of our insurance carriers also offer free risk management and loss control tools for human resources and employment practices. You or your local agent/broker can contact us at 855.972.9399.
Source: Trusted Choice, SBA
Posted in: Home Healthcare Providers