It’s not that uncommon for employees to sue their employers, particularly if they have recently been fired. However, different people will have different motivations for doing so. We’ve assembled the top reasons workers decide to sue their employees, whether the reason is valid in the eyes of the employer or not.
You may not feel like every employee needs to be treated like royalty, but they should be treated with respect. If an employee feels like they were treated poorly, including being fired without a given reason, they could feel dehumanized and take legal action in response.
Retaliation for Protected Activities
One thing an employee will sue an employer for is retaliation for a protected activity, and the law will be on their side in this case. For example, employees who file for workers’ compensation are protected from discrimination or dismissal based on their injury or illness. Likewise, if they are whistleblowers, most state laws protect them from being fired for reporting illegal activities. Because they have clear laws that protect them from this sort of retaliation, employees are more likely to sue.
Some companies receive reports of discriminatory or sexually harassing behavior of some managers without taking any action against the manager. People who file complaints want them investigated immediately. If you can’t take action because someone is out sick or on vacation, explaining the situation to the person who lodged a complaint can prevent them from seeking legal ways of solving the problem themselves.
Not Following Your Own Policies
Most companies create policies so all people who work for the business have a common standard for behavior. If you don’t enforce these rules fairly, however, people will notice. For example, if an HR manager cites an employee for breaking a rule but avoids doing the same thing to a friend of his, the cited employee might sue.
Mismatched Performance and Performance Reviews
Many times an employee will receive good performance reviews but will be fired after for “poor” performance. In his or her mind, those two facts are incongruous. If bad performance is really the reason, why were they not warned of their behavior in advance? The employee or his or her attorney could connect the dismissal to something else, such as discrimination.
Not Responding Properly to an EEOC Charge
If someone has complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), any communication with that organization should be prompt and courteous. If the EEOC is contacting you, the employee likely has a good cause for complaint. Any tardiness on your part in responding to such a complaint might lead to a lawsuit.
If you’re a business owner, make sure your HR team is doing its job in ensuring any employee complaint is taken care of as soon as possible. Likewise, treating all your employees with respect will go a long way to prevent yourself from facing a legal battle later. If you do need help defending yourself in court against an employee lawsuit, talk to one of our skilled Chicago employment law attorneys. The Prinz Law Firm has the experience it takes to provide you with knowledgeable advocacy. Let us look over your case.
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