Home Business Trouble in the Office: 5 Most Common Workplace Lawsuits

Trouble in the Office: 5 Most Common Workplace Lawsuits


No matter how genuine, fair, or transparent a company is, without a full understanding employment related law, management could still break the legal rules when it comes to treating their staff properly. Many small and large businesses face court battles with employees yearly due to inappropriate treatment. As a boss, knowing what your obligations are can help protect you as an employer, while ensuring that all your employees are treated equally, respectfully, and fairly.

Many employees often focus on the bigger, more obvious actions. Typically, it is the smaller, less noticeable treatment or errors that create issues for both employee and employer. When it comes to employment relations and court cases, these are the most popular and common lawsuits that businesses face:

1. Overtime

Non-salaried employees must be paid for all hours they work during each day, week, or month. Staff who work over time, must be compensated appropriately for all hours worked. Employers who do not accurately track labour hours can face legal consequences if they do not pay their staff. To avoid this legal hassle, companies should implement effective tracking systems that clearly and correctly calculate the number of hours each person works daily and salary paid for those hours.

2. Discrimination

The law is designed to protect every group from discrimination, so people cannot be treated poorly or refused employment based on their culture, religion, gender, race, age, citizenship, disability, genetic information, family status, genetic information, national origin, veteran status, or pregnancy.

To protect yourself and your staff, transparent protocols, policies, and procedures should be put in place and visible to everyone. Complete documentation and accurate record keeping is also important. Maintaining transparent and fair hiring practices are also essential to ensure everyone is given equal and fair opportunities within the firm.

3. Harassment

Anyone employed or contracted with a company can conduct themselves in a manner that constitutes as harassment. Owners, managers, supervisors, colleagues, and contracted employees can be liable for harassing behaviours if their actions are considered threatening, demeaning, or inappropriate. Employers who fail to stop the behaviour can find themselves defending their actions in a court of law.

Most harassment cases involve sexual harassment in the form of inappropriate touching, gestures, or comments. But harassment can also be bullying or threatening actions as well.

4. Personal Injury

Millions of workers suffer from workplace related accidents every year. Keeping a safe workplace is important to ensure staff are safeguarded from preventable injuries or fatalities. Most employers have insurance programs in place to protect their employees mental and physical health. Bosses who fail to implement safe policies and procedures can find themselves justifying their work ethics in a court of law.

5. Wrongful Dismissal

Bosses who fire personnel without justifiable cause can be charged with wrongful termination. Examples of employees being terminated wrongfully include: termination so management can hire a friend or family member for the position, employees being terminated after they have filed a complaint, and laying someone off because the boss does not like them personally.

Companies have an obligation to make sure their staff are working in a fair, respectful, safe, and transparent place of business. Failure to provide a proper work environment can result in legal action being taken by one or more hired help. If you need more help in the field of wrongful dismissal, don’t hesitate to contact an employment lawyer for professional assistance.

While many managers look at the bigger picture or issues when it comes to the law, many often overlook the smaller details that can turn into bigger problems. Understanding the law and implementing policies and procedures that comply with current legislation for all staff will help protect company owners from future legal troubles.