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Protecting your company against employee retaliation

Angry or upset employees can and do retaliate unfairly against their employers for slights ranging from personality differences to termination. According to Smart Business, employment dispute claims have increased in the past few years. Each year in Texas and throughout the rest of the country, more than 100,000 cases are filed against employers over the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's statutes.

While such claims can harm a business of any size, small businesses are the most vulnerable. The average claim costs a business $50,000, and defense costs can rise exponentially if a claim is taken to court. Employers have every right to discipline an employee when the action is warranted, or to withhold a benefit that they are not legally required to provide, but they should understand that such actions can come with repercussions from a disgruntled employee.

Most commonly, employee claims concern the following:

  • Wrongful termination.
  • Allegations of employer retaliation.
  • Discrimination.
  • Sexual harassment.

Wage and hour disputes are also becoming more frequent. Dissatisfied employees have other ways of hurting an employer than filing a claim, says the Houston Chronicle. These include taking their complaint to the media, writing negative reviews against the company on Internet review sites and even becoming violent.

Business owners can take several measures to protect themselves against employee claims. In addition to purchasing employment practices liability coverage, it can greatly help to form employment practice policies regarding hiring and firing procedures, and to educate employees on proper work practices so a discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit does not arise out of a casual joke on the job. An employer should also ensure that he or she has proof of an employee's poor work performance or other issues if discipline is necessary.

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