Starting a business is not just about supply and demand. It comes with responsibilities such as taking care of employees among several other things. When these responsibilities are not met, the repercussions could be grave.
Small businesses sometimes opt to get a retainer who could serve on various matters. The retainer could look into legal acquisitions of properties, legal aspects of customer relations, down to individual employee matters like serving as a lawyer for personal injury claims. Still, before opening a business, it would be good to be knowledgeable of some common lawsuits involving your prospective employees.
Breach of Contract
A breach of contract is committed when any of the two parties involved in the contract fails to fulfill what was agreed upon. Usually, the contract itself contains remedies or penalties that the violating party must do. This is like a payment for damages, most likely a financial setback, incurred because one party had not been able to fulfill his or her responsibilities. An example of a business breaching contract is when it does not provide the benefits that it promised its employees.
In some cases, violators are required to publicize their breach of contract to inform other businesses of what had transpired. This would also mean that there would be social sanctions against the violator. A breach of contract does not have to go to court as long as the violated party is justly compensated.
There are different kinds of discrimination cases. These could be based on gender, race, religion, color, or national origin. Specific examples of these are discrimination against the hiring of pregnant women, gender-biased rate of payment, discriminating against the hiring of the elderly, and the hiring of persons with disabilities.
Just recently, the issue of racial discrimination in the workplace had been brought to light again because of the Black Lives Matter movement. Not only did people look into the number of racial differences in the office, but also their rank. People also looked into the policies that regulate the employees’ attitude towards people of color.
This is a type of lawsuit that is caused by unintentional circumstances. These are basically due to accidents met by an employee or clients due to negligence on the company’s part. A common example of this is when stocks in warehouses would fall on employees. This could be because of the carelessness of another employee, or it could be caused by a faulty in the stocking system of the warehouse.
Unintentional though the circumstances are, if it’s the company system that is found at fault, it will need to cover the expenses to cover personal or property damages. It is even more complicated when the affected employee is incapacitated enough that he or she is disabled and could no longer work.
The risk of this kind of lawsuit could be lessened if the company adheres to strict protocols at work. There are international safety standards for any kind of business. This is to ensure the right of the workers to a free and safe working environment. If the negligence is on the part of the affected employee, the company is not liable to pay for damages.
Harassment cases come in different forms; they could be physical, verbal, mental, or psychological. Harassment results in an employee feeling unsafe, insecure because of another employee. Usually, it is someone of a higher position, or someone who has leverage, taking advantage of a co-worker.
This kind of lawsuit is a sensitive issue and considered to be very subjective in terms of its definition. For example, sexual harassment could, which could take on a verbal form, may be dismissed as a joke. Shaming of employees is also not always held in check especially in cultures where social status is important.
Wage Law Violations or Just Compensation Violations
There are numerous cases of unscrupulous companies taking advantage of immigrants and people who don’t know their labor value. In this light, wage cases are often linked to discrimination. People of color may not be paid the same rate as their counterparts. This is easy to do since not everyone is privy to each other’s salaries. In some cases, although the pay is equal, the difference is in their upward mobility in job positions.
This is more difficult for employees to prove as the company could easily come up with arbitrary ranking standards. But thanks to labor unions, cases like these have gained attention. If you are found out committing this violation, although it might not be a court case you will be facing, you could be put through social vilification.
Inexperienced entrepreneurs might focus too much on pleasing customers that they forget their employees. It would be easier to start a business with just a handful of people who can easily be managed. But even then, a small workforce is entitled to workers’ rights.
With society becoming more conscious because of rights advocates, businesses could not easily take advantage of people’s ignorance of the laws. More than preparing for lawsuits, as a new business, you should be looking at how to respect basic human rights in your transactions.