Human Resources News & Insights

6 common manager mistakes that can get your company sued

What do employment attorneys see as the common thread that lands well-meaning employers in court time and time again? Costly mistakes by their front-line managers. 

To safeguard your firm from these five common manager blunders cited by attorneys, have HR meet with all front-line managers and supervisors and remind them to avoid:

The big 6

  1. Sloppy documentation. Managers’ documentation should never, ever seem subjective. It should always be written as if it could wind up in a jury’s hands.
  2. Inflated appraisals. Many managers avoid difficult conversations by inflating the performance ratings of employees. This can make it impossible to justify a discipline decision in court.
  3. Applying policies inconsistently. When managers don’t apply their policies to all employees, it leaves the company wide open to an array of discrimination suits.
    Another critical mistake in this area: Not knowing certain policies even exist.
  4. Being unaware of the law. It’s become a troubling trend in employment law cases: Front-line managers blatantly admit to not knowing about laws like the FMLA or the ADA. Managers need to be trained on the ins and outs of these critical employment laws.
  5. Ignoring complaints. Granted, some employees complain incessantly. But to stay safe, each and every compliant about unfair treatment or harassment must be taken seriously and investigated.
  6. Blatant rudeness. Sometimes there’s a fine line between being stern and being flat-out rude. But when managers err toward the latter, it can make employees think they disapprove of a specific protected trait — such as age, race or gender — and potentially lead to a discrimination lawsuit.
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