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$300,000 Lawsuit by Former Employee

Posted by Nicole Call | Sep 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

The perfect storm for a lawsuit . . .

Employee emails covid-19 health and safety concerns to employer.

Employer doesn't respond to employee's email.... a mistake.

Employee talks to other employees about her concerns and speculates on whether employees have coronavirus.

Employer issues a written statement to all employees that they can't talk about whether employees have coronavirus because it violates HIPPA (when it doesn't under the circumstances).... a mistake.

Employee, her at risk daughter, along with several other employees are diagnosed with coronavirus.

A few weeks later, employer lays off employee as a part of reduction in force.... 

And, oh yeah, sometime during all of this OSHA and state Department of Agriculture are investigating employer. 

Employee has absolutely nothing to lose and files a lawsuit against her former employer. 

LESSONS LEARNED:

When an employee communicates with an employer (verbal or in writing) that they have health or safety concerns . . .

  1. Promptly Respond and Listen,
  2. Thank employee for bringing their concerns to your attention,
  3. Promptly investigate and verify,
  4. Take timely proactive steps to address the concerns, e.g. change policies, procedures, protocol, etc., and
  5. Keep a record of all steps taken to investigate, verify and timely changes that were made.

 

When issuing written statements to employees

"You can't do this.... based upon [this law]"

Seek legal counsel before issuing the written statement to make sure your written statement is true and accurate.

 

When doing a reduction in force, comply with policies and procedures, evaluate risks and seek legal counsel.

 

Review PACKAGES to see how you can be proactive today! 

 This article is based upon Flores vs. Built Bar.

About the Author

Nicole Call

BIZLAWGIC is the brainchild of Nicole R. Call, who has been active in the legal profession for two decades. In that time, she has served: businesses, nonprofits, quasi-governmental entities, governmental entities, judges, and individuals. With this wealth of experience she provides unique insight in meeting small businesses legal needs.

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