To create a successful business, you have done everything you can to maximize profits through operations, pricing and customer service. You take care of investors and hire the best people to improve your business. But have you prepared for one of the most common sources of financial loss, business litigation?
The U.S. Small Business Administration reveals that every year up to 53 percent of companies go through a lawsuit, reports Forbes. Is it possible to avoid becoming another statistic? While you cannot eliminate the risk altogether, you can do these three simple things to reduce the chances greatly.
1. Employment contracts
When accurate and thorough, a contract can offer significant protection against litigation. For employees, first be sure that you have classified them correctly so they are under the right contract. Next, include clauses covering confidentiality and termination. What else to put in the contract depends on the industry and size of your business. A qualified attorney can help you determine what is necessary and legal.
2. Policies and procedures handbook
You may know what your company's values, ethics, practices and culture are, but do your employees? Spelling out your policies and procedures in detail in a handbook ensures there are no surprises. Be sure to include such information as compliance to industry safety standards, employee benefits and disciplinary action. Give all employees the handbook upon hiring and have them sign it after reading it. Update it often to clarify confusing sections and address new challenges as they arise.
3. Employee training
The law protects many classes from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. It is vital that you understand all these laws and train your managers and employees on them continually. Create a safe way for employees to report misconduct, and follow up on reports with proper investigation and discipline if necessary. You must take anti-discrimination laws seriously, as even something as seemingly minor as teasing can cross the line and be cause for a lawsuit.