Let’s be real for a minute. They are coming. The pickings are too good to resist. They have already begun advertising on TV and social media. “Has your employer done everything they can to protect you?” “Has your employer forced you back to work just so they can make money?” “Sue them while you still can by phone or online. You don’t even have to leave your house.” The winner is not the employee, but the attorney. I have several friends and colleagues whom are attorneys. Even they are repulsed by this type of attorney. But let’s be real, they are out there and working your staff looking for their next big paycheck.
So, what can you do?
DO NOT TAKE SHORT CUTS! Follow these four steps to protect yourself:
First, get your house in order. Business 101
- Have a handbook that is NOT written by an attorney or needs an attorney to understand. Your handbook should be no more than 2 years old or and not pulled off the internet.
- Have all documentation in order. Live by the saying...if it was not documented, it never happened. If something happens down the road and you say “remember when we talked about X”? They will get amnesia and say “I don’t remember that. Meet my attorney”. Your documentation is your CYA security.
- Have job descriptions for all positions.
Second, safety is always first and a condition of employment.
- Follow all CDC guidelines for your business. If you have any questions, consult a SHRM qualified, HR Professional. Unless they are an Employment Attorney and practice only Employment law, they don’t know how to help you. 98% of general practice attorneys will google the information, then sell it to you at $400 per hour.
- Train your staff on the expected guidelines and safety PPE.
- Document when, what and who was involved.
- Have pre-shift reminders with the staff. Every day.
- Show that you are fully compliant and hold your clients and guest accountable. If they break social guidelines (seen a lot lately), law enforcement will come for a visit. Next will be a local attorney-for-hire knocking at your door.
- Any shortcuts and not holding everyone accountable will be a big, neon sign to those circling above “COME ON DOWN. WE ARE READY TO GIVE YOU LOTS OF MONEY”.
- BTW it’s okay to refuse service to those who do not comply with your safety measures.
Next, work with your staff.
Sounds simple, and it is. They are just as scared and nervous as you are. However, there is a bright spot. My firm has seen kindness brought by both employer and employee during this pandemic. I truly believe a new dawn of employer/employee relations has formed from this pandemic. Work with your team. They have just as much vested in your success.
Finally, get qualified HR Help.
Calling your Attorney sounds impressive, but they are not trained to handle the details like a competent, qualified HR Professional. A qualified HR Professional:
- Knows how to work in the grey area of real-life situations and how to protect you, your business, and your team.
- Knows how to find the gaps in your employment compliance and takes corrective action to get you back on track.
- Is not with a PEO (PEO’s do not allow their HR team(s) to answer any question that is in the grey area or puts liability on the PEO) Don’t believe the hype. Only HR Professionals are trained by SHRM and have at minimum 12 years of real-life experience to be truly qualified.
- Will be upfront with what they can and can’t do. No qualified, single HR Professional can do it all. A one-stop shop takes a team of qualified HR professionals.
- Is more reasonably priced than the alternative. The average 8 year, SHRM qualified, HR professional is 48% less than a general practice attorney and 200%+ less than a charging attorney. BTW the average employment code violation is $76,000. Can you afford that?
Take the basic steps to reopen your business.If you do just a little work, upfront, a whole lot of hurt will be avoided in the long run.
If you need guidance, The Road to Recovery: 10 Steps to Reopening Your Business provides the who’s, what’s, when’s, how’s and most importantly, the what not to-do's when reopening your business after this pandemic. I use my 30 years of expertise, experience, and knowledge in Employment Code Enforcement, Human Resources / Operational Best Practices, and CDC-Pandemic Mediation techniques to provide an easy-to-use road map to recovery for any business owner. If shortcuts or employment codes are violated, significant financial penalties and hardship will be in your future. However, if executed correctly your business will open stronger and more viable than when it temporarily closed.
Click here to learn more about the book.
Scott A Williams founded TSG-HR in 2001 and has assembled a global network of human capital experts to help businesses. He founded TSG-HR Help Desk shortly after to improve the delivery of professional HR support that matters to our clients
Over his career, Mr. Williams has held several domestic and international executive positions, most recently as the Director (VP) of HR, North America, for The Coca-Cola Company. Mr. Williams is an angel investor and sits on the board of several start-up companies. He advises companies throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and China. Mr. Williams is sought out for his skills in maximizing workforce and strategic performance, removing cultural barriers, and reducing HR functional costs. Mr. Williams and his team of HR experts are sought for their expertise and thought leadership in all areas of human resources and human capital management.