The biggest challenge that any business faces is trying to keep their employees happy. You will notice nowadays that you can’t fire someone without due cause. Even then, they might file suit and sue you for unlawful dismissal. There is no doubt that employees have more protection than before. And, they are willing to use that protection to their advantage. The fact that the number of lawsuits in the past twenty years is over 400% puts that into perspective.
As the boss, you aren’t trying to restrict them of their rights. You want everyone to work to their potential for the good of the business. But, you still have to be careful as the smallest action can result in a lawsuit. It is imperative that you avoid lawsuits if you want to run a profitable and reputable business. Thankfully, there are a couple of methods you can use to put a buffer between you and the courts.
Hire Very Carefully
You don’t want to be cynical. But, you have to realize there is a reason certain candidates don’t hold onto a job for an extended period. The reason might be that they aren’t very good at their job, which is one reason to take the process seriously. Another feasible explanation is that they use their employees as bait. There are employees out there that are willing to make a mountain out of a molehill. Obviously, you want to avoid these people like the plague. To do that, talk to them about more than their just their CV. Try and understand their personality and how they would react in certain situations.
Terminate Very Carefully
Firing an employee is just as difficult as hiring one. If they are on a full-time contract, they have lots of rights that prevent their termination. However, it isn’t impossible to fire someone if you follow the right steps. The first thing to note is that it isn’t a nice job, but it is necessary if they aren’t performing. Always give them an oral warning followed by two written warnings if you are looking to fire an employee. The next time they make a mistake, you are okay to terminate them lawfully. Also, give them a chance to improve. Then, they can’t say that you dismissed them without ample opportunity.
Create Strict Company Policies
A lot of the 400% rise in lawsuits is due to health and safety incidents. As the government has cracked down on health and safety, more employees are entitled to compensation. No business should begrudge an employee a payout if they are at fault. The thing is that you won’t be at fault if you take the necessary precautions. One of those precautions is creating policies that keep everyone in the business safe at work. If you have these policies, workers can’t blame you for their accident. Think of them as a safety net.
Communicate These Policies Effectively
Creating policies isn’t enough – you have to communicate them to your workforce. It doesn’t matter that they exist if people don’t know they exist or don’t understand how to follow the guidelines. At least, it doesn’t matter to a tribunal. Every business needs regular health and safety conferences that show employees just how to act at work. For example, you can put together a PowerPoint that teaches people how to lift heavy objects. It sounds obvious, but it is a necessary step. You have to be able to offer proof that you did everything in your power to prevent an accident. Communication is the first step to that process.
Send Them On Training Courses
Use training courses to drill home your company policies. Going the extra mile is always a good idea because it covers more bases. Training courses are especially effective because they mix theoretical teachings with practical work. A good training course gets employees to think about scenarios and then act them out to the group. After they finish, the teacher asks observers what they did right and wrong. These kinds of sessions give workers a lot more insight into what it right and what it wrong. External training is much more effective than internal training. They tend to have the resources to provide a better standard of teaching.
Go On A Course Yourself
It isn’t just about what your employees can learn as you have to educate yourself too. As the boss, you are responsible for following policies and legislation that relates to workers’ rights. Therefore, if you don’t understand, no one else will understand either. With that in mind, go and visit Peninsula for HR seminars. Companies like this specialise in HR sessions that deal with employment law and health and safety rules. Just like your employees, you will learn more about what is right and what is wrong from a boss’s point of view. A training course will save the business a fortune and a lot of hassle.
Hire A Good Lawyer
Hire a lawyer that specialises in this kind of law. The law is a diverse entity, and you lots of lawyers don’t understand employment law. The ones that do are the difference between a successful and failed lawsuit.
Make A Log
If an accident does occur, you need to show that you did everything in your power to stop it from happening. Aside from putting up signs and alerting people to danger, you also need to log every accident. Write it down in your log book and explain your actions in thorough detail. Write down everything from what you said to what treatment you used on the injured party. It is also a good idea to take pictures just in case. A log that is from your point of view isn’t going to hold up in court. Images, however, are conclusive proof that you did what you said in the log. Plus, the log shows that you didn’t try and sweep the incident under the carpet.
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