5 Common Lawsuits to Dodge with Human Resource Strategies and Employee Management Procedures - Hackstaff, Snow, Atkinson & Griess, LLC

5 Common Lawsuits to Dodge with Human Resource Strategies and Employee Management Procedures

common lawsuits

Could your business defend itself against a lawsuit brought by an employee? Even with inclusive and positive company cultures, fair pay, and an equal opportunity employment policy, your company could still be at risk. Multiple lawsuits can arise in the workplace, although most are avoidable by using human resource strategies and employee management procedures.  

The Top Five Most Common Workplace Lawsuits  

Many businesses throughout Colorado and the nation deal with at least one of these types of lawsuits in the workplace, if not all of them from one time or another. 

Personal Injury 

No workplace is immune to personal injury claims, although some are more at risk than others. Most of these injuries are covered under your employee’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, don’t make the mistake of creating a culture of safety, properly training your workforce, and responding to any safety concerns or issues immediately. Doing so will reduce the risk of civil claims alleging that your negligence caused an employee’s injury.  


Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you are obligated to hourly employees in some situations. It’s your responsibility to accurately record the number of hours employees work and pay them overtime whenever it’s required by law. 


Alleged employer discrimination is arguably the most common legal risk for companies today. Any employee who is in a protected class and believes they were mistreated can file such charges. Protected classes under both federal and Colorado state law include: 

  • Gender 
  • Race 
  • Religion 
  • Age 
  • Disability 
  • National origin 
  • Color 
  • Family status 
  • Marital status 
  • Sexual orientation  
  • Veteran status 

If an employee who belongs to one of these protected classes is doing their job as they should and suffers a termination, decreased work hours, is denied a promotion, or other adverse actions due to their protected status, they can file discrimination charges. Their employer must show that an adverse action was taken for valid business reasons in order to defend these claims.  


Thirty-eight percent of women and fourteen percent of men report experiencing sexual harassment at work (Kearl, Johns, & Raj, 2019). Harassment comes in several forms, such as sexually inappropriate remarks by a supervisor or intimidation by a co-worker. When an employer receives a report of harassment yet fails to take action after the victim files a complaint, they may decide to file a lawsuit. You can reduce your company’s risk of facing a harassment-related lawsuit by having strict policies and guidelines detailed in your employee handbook. Frequent and thorough training for employees, especially those that violate your harassment policies, is essential to promote a harassment-free workplace.  

Wrongful Termination 

Employees who believe they were terminated for the wrong reasons can file a wrongful termination lawsuit. They might do this if they feel they were fired in retaliation for filing a complaint or taking time off to take care of a sick loved one. Maintaining accurate documentation and records regarding all employee’s performance, communications, warnings, and discipline can help defend your company against wrongful termination charges.  

Avoiding Workplace Lawsuits 

As with most aspects of life, your best defense against any of these types of claims is to avoid them altogether in the first place. You want to do everything possible to avoid lawsuits as they are costly, both in time and money. 

Prioritize Detailed Documentation 

Your goal is to create a paper trail that will convey the entire story of an employee’s time at your business, especially if they have been disciplined. Be sure to include the following in your documentation: 

  • Employment reviews 
  • Performance evaluations  
  • Attendance records 

You also want to ensure that supervisors are giving truthful and accurate performance reviews. 

Provide Adequate Training for Managers and Employees 

Frequent and comprehensive training can save your company from several different types of lawsuits. All employers should provide training on workplace safety, company policies, and all forms of harassment. Training for supervisors should also include best practices and federal, state, and local regulations. 

Ensure Legal Compliance 

It’s worth reiterating that you should always comply with all local, state, and federal laws that address workplace discrimination, harassment, safety in the workplace, and labor standards. Keep in mind that these can change, and it’s your responsibility to stay up-to-date.  

Maintain and Apply Consistent Guidelines and Policies 

Every company should have policies and guidelines. However, the key is to apply them equally to every employee. Even giving a hint of favoritism to a class of workers or singling other workers out whom you don’t like are both grounds for discrimination lawsuits. Use fair policies, enforce the rules, and hold all employees to the same standards. 

Protect Your Company with an Experienced Business Attorney 

At Hackstaff, Snow, Atkinson & Griess, LLC, our business attorneys are well-versed in the litigation risks you face every day. When you work with one of our lawyers, you can help avoid these legal claims and protect your business from financial or reputational ruin. Invest in your business by hiring a seasoned attorney to protect it from lawsuits. Reach out to us today for a personalized consultation about your legal needs.