The Top 16 Things Employers Do to Get Sued

The California Chamber of Commerce identified “The Top 10 Things Employers Do to Get Sued”. Employment laws are complicated, ever-evolving and numerous. Thus, even though small business owners and entrepreneurs want to comply with the law, they are at risk of unintentionally violating employment laws.

Below is the Chamber’s list of “The Top 10 Things Employers Do to Get Sued”. In each of my subsequent blog entries, I will discuss one of the items on the list. I will provide information on the applicable laws including recent developments, compliance suggestions, and links to resources for further information.

At Shivani Sutaria Law Offices, we are focused on helping employers prevent legal disputes. If you are concerned that your business may be engaging in any of the activities stated on the list, contact us. We provide employers with advice and counsel on workplace issues, draft employment-related documents, train supervisors and employees on employment laws, and audit and recommend HR policies and practices.

“The Top 10 Things Employers Do to Get Sued”, according to the California Chamber of Commerce:

  • Classify All Employees as Exempt, Whether They Are or Not.**

  • Be Nice to Employees — Let Them Take Lunch Whenever They Want to.

  • Make Everyone an “Independent Contractor” Because Having Employees is Too Much Trouble.**

  • Don’t Bother Providing Training About Harassment and Discrimination to Managers and Supervisors. They Won’t Need the Information.

  • Let Employees Decide Which Hours and How Many They Want to Work Each Day.

  • Terminate Any Employee Who Takes a Leave of Absence, Whatever the Reason. It Is Too Much Trouble to Administer Leaves of Absence, and Who Knows if The Employee Will Return.

  • Don’t Give Employees Their Final Check if They Fail to Return Company Property.

  • Provide Loans to Employees and Deduct the Money From Their Paycheck Each Pay Period.

  • Use Non-Compete Agreements to Protect Confidential Information, Such as Business Secrets, Customer Lists and Pricing Information, and to Prevent Employees From Working for the Competition.**

  • Implement a “Use it or Lose it” Vacation Policy to Avoid Paying Out Vacation at Termination.

As a seasoned litigator, I have noticed additional recent trends in workplace litigation. Thus, I supplement this list with six additional items, making it “The Top 16 Things Employers Do to Get Sued”:

  • Believing the Interactive Process for Reasonable Accommodations is a One-Time Conversation.

  • Not Conducting Objective and Comprehensive Investigations on Workplace Complaints.

  • Confusion Over Everything Pregnancy-Related Including Accommodations and Leave.

  • A Lack of or Vaguely Written Employment Agreements and Documents.**

  • Texting and Emailing About Work to and by Non-Exempt Employees When “Off-the-Clock”.**

  • Being Lax on Employment Law Requirements for Remote and Telecommuting Employees.**

The starred items (**) are situations that particularly arise among employers who offer flexible workplace arrangements (i.e. telecommuting, alternative workweeks, flexible schedules), which is very common in California and especially within the Bay Area technology employer community.

As time goes by and further litigation trends arise, I will supplement this list.

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