11 Tips to Prevent and Manage the No. 1 Legal Issue in the Workplace

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According to our most recent survey, the absolute No. 1 workplace legal issue at the moment is how to prevent and manage litigation.

That’s not surprising. EEOC claims are at an all-time high. Class actions continue to rise. Employers now win less than 50 percent of the time in court.

We’re here to help. Based on input from the world’s leading employment law experts with a combined approximately 8,493,527,624 hours of employment counseling and litigation experience, here are our official:

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Top 11 Litigation Tips in the History of the Universe

(Please note: Most Top 10 lists only go to 10. Ours go to 11. We reallllly want you to get your money’s worth.)

  • No. 11 — Investigate and document ALL claims. Even those against your CEO or superstar salespeople.
  • No. 10 — Never, ever, ever, ever retaliate. Retaliation is now the No. 1 most common claim filed with the EEOC. Please don’t join the crowd.
  • No. 9 — Establish litigation budgets and use fixed/flat fees. Law firms love it when you don’t manage litigation costs closely. Make lawyers live by budgets just like everyone else.
  • No. 8 — Conduct early case evaluations. Game plan your litigation strategy early on. If settlement is appropriate, do it before you rack up lots of attorneys’ fees.
  • No. 7 — Follow your own policies and contracts. Judges and juries hate it when you don’t.
  • No. 6 — If it ain’t job related, it ain’t job-related. Want to get sued for discrimination? Make decisions based on factors that aren’t 100% job-related.
  • No. 5 — Address known and systemic issues. Now. Please. Especially wage and hour issues — and especially in California.
  • No. 4 — Model ethical behavior at the top. Want your whole organization to go under? Ignore this rule.
  • No. 3 — Take the “Mom” Test. When all else fails, ask yourself this simple question before you make any employment decision: “What would my Mother think?”
  • No. 2 — Know the law. It’s changing faster than ever.
  • No. 1 — Love your employees. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated and you’re waaaaaaay less likely to wind up in court and/or jail.

This was originally published on Manpower Group’s Employment Blawg.

Mark Toth has served as Manpower Group North America's Chief Legal Officer since 2000. He also serves on the company’s Global Leadership Team, Global Legal Lead Team and North American Lead Team. Mark is recognized as an expert on legal issues affecting the U.S. workplace and is frequently quoted in media from The Wall Street Journal to 60 Minutes. He is also a past Chair of the American Staffing Association and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Contact him at mark.toth@manpowergroup.com.