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Risk Management

How to Minimize Your Potential Legal Exposure to Employment Disputes

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Paul R. Bedard, EsquirePaul R. Bedard, Esquire

Employment lawsuits, including claims of discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination, are among the most common lawsuits filed against companies in the United States. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), nearly 75% of all litigation against corporations involves employment disputes. It has also been reported that the median judgment resulting from an EEOC charge is approximately $200,000 and that the average duration of an employment claim is 275 days.

In order to defend your business from an employment lawsuit, and to minimize the potential for one to develop in the first place, you must proactively design and consistently implement your employment practices, particularly when it comes to hiring, training and terminating employees. You must also document these practices on an ongoing basis, which will prove to be invaluable should you be on the receiving end of an employment claim or governmental audit.

This article is the second in a series that will explain in reasonable detail some of the most common legal risks within the health and fitness club industry and how to minimize your exposure to these risks. However, these articles are not intended as legal advice. Widely varying laws specific to each jurisdiction prohibit one-size-fits-all recommendations, particularly within the complex realm of employment disputes. Please consider these comments as merely an educational guide to assist you when you consult your own attorney for specific direction.

Proactively Consult Employment Law Professionals Before Issues Present Themselves

It is far more cost-effective to retain an employment law attorney to design or review your employment practices than it is to hire the same employment attorney to defend you against employee litigation. Proactively engage the appropriate legal professionals to educate you and your people regarding your applicable local, state and federal laws. Once the appropriate employment practices are identified, obtain buy-in from ownership and management. Implement these practices while establishing a consistent culture and message from the top of the organization down to every entry-level employee.

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