5 HR Policies Critical To Protect Your Company From Lawsuits

Updated October 6, 2023

Company Lawsuit

There is certainly no shortage of HR policies available to companies. However, many companies are a bit behind the HR curve, especially when they scale quickly. This can be dangerous and put business owners and the companies they’ve worked so hard to grow at serious risk of legal action.

Even when you’re just starting out, whether a small business or kitchen table startup, HR policies are important to have in place. They should not be the last thing to take shape. It could even give your company a competitive edge.

“Regardless of what it means to a company, it may be the single factor to attaining success and business sustainability,” Scholley Bubenik explained in a Forbes article. “There are many strategies that contribute to achieving a competitive advantage, but maximizing your human capital is a major contributor to achieving a competitive edge in the marketplace.”

If you are ready to get serious about HR, here are five HR policies you absolutely need in place to avoid lawsuits down the road. Let’s take a closer look!

1. Employee Leave HR Policies

Leave policies are among the most important of all HR policies. Even if your tech startup has a handful of employees, you need a plan in place for requesting, approving and tracking leave. For instance, let’s say your small team of five becomes 50 in three short months. There’s no leave policy in place and you see productivity dip. What do you do then?

You will probably scramble and throw together a quick policy and implement it. Then things get forgotten and then an employee files a lawsuit for unlawful termination. Not good! Have a leave policy ready from the get go and also lean on professionals to help mange that policy, like calling on the expertise of absence management vendors.

2. Safety And Workers Health Policy

The safety and health of your employees is an important part of running a successful company. From warehouse operations to HQ, you need to ensure safety and health is a priority. Warehouse safety is a must, and it commonly has policies in place. But what about the unseen safety and health issues. For example, long periods of sitting at headquarters.

A safety and health HR policy at HQ is very important, and could include stand up desk options, mandatory 10 minute breaks every hour to get your team up and out of their chair, and gym memberships or healthy eating initiatives. These can make a big difference for you, your company, and the overall health and safety of your team.

3. Develop And Enforce Code Of Conduct Policies

HR policies that aim to make your company an efficient and productive workplace are critical for growth, success, and professionalism. Code of conduct varies greatly by company, and those policies are often supported by company culture. They can include, working hours, dress code, communication platforms to be used, chain of command, and more.

4. Harassment And Discrimination HR Policies

This is by far one of the most important HR policies to have in place. Harassment and discrimination are hot topics these days, and sadly, they are often not policies adhered to, or have action taken when needed. If you want to protect your company from legal issues, you must have harassment and discrimination HR policies in place. And they must be enforced without fail.

For instance, create a policy that is very clear cut when it comes to discrimination, bullying, and sexual harassment. Communicate this policy with your management team, and hold monthly training/discussion meetings for every department to ensure your entire company knows the policy, and  the steps that can be taken if problems arise.

5. Privacy Policy Is Very Important

As a business owner, regardless of the size of your company, needs to be very proactive about taking steps to protect the information of employees and customers. Having a privacy policy in place is a sure fire way to do that. And even if the policy is not adhered to by an unruly employee, you have a policy in place to protect your business from customer lawsuits. This is an absolute must.

Essentially, a privacy policy outlines the information that can be discussed outside of the office, or the information that can be made public. For example, some customers may not want to be named in marketing material or press releases. Have a privacy policy in place, or you may find yourself in court.

Wrapping Up . . .

HR policies are important. They set standards and practices for your company, team, and protect sensitive information. They are also critical to keep your company out of legal hot water. If you have yet to set up key HR policies, or if you are not sure about any of the above policies, it is time to get with your HR director and get it sorted out quickly.

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