If you've received a demand letter from an employee who's claiming harassment, it's time to take immediate action. You might think that the letter is an empty threat. But, in most cases, demand letters precede the official lawsuit. Now that you have the demand letter in hand, you need to prepare yourself for the lawsuit. More than likely, the next papers you receive will be from your employee's attorney, regarding details of the lawsuit. Here are some steps you need to take to safeguard your future.
Hire an Employer Attorney
If you've received the letter of demand from your employee and now know that they're claiming that they've been the victim of workplace harassment, the most important thing you can do is hire an employer attorney. You don't want to wait until you've been served with lawsuit documents. Instead, hire an attorney right now. That way, you and your attorney can prepare for the next step in the process.
Stop All Communication
If your employee is threatening a lawsuit for workplace harassment, you need to stop all communication. This includes talking to other employees about the demand letter or the potential lawsuit. Anything you say to your employees could be used against you in court. It's especially important that you avoid any communication with the employee. Instead, have all communication go between the attorneys. If the employee still works for you, use the human resource manager as a contact person.
Assess Your Insurance
If you're being threatened with a lawsuit for workplace harassment, now's the time to assess your business insurance. You want to make sure that the insurance you have right now is sufficient to cover a potential payout. It's also important that you check the insurance on your personal property, as well. Pay close attention to your homeowners policy. You want to make sure that your personal assets are well-protected, should your employee proceed with the lawsuit.
Make Some Changes
Finally, if you've been served with a demand letter, it's time to make some changes around the workplace. Making changes to the way you conduct business can help you to avoid future lawsuits. This is especially true where harassment claims are concerned. Talk to your human resource manager and to your attorney about changes you can implement to reduce the risk of future harassment claims.
Don't take chances with your company. If you've been served with a demand letter from a disgruntled employee, use the tips provided here to protect yourself and your company. If you have any questions, talk to an employer attorney.