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Entrepreneurs: Labor Law is not on your side!

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Small businesses most often use funds borrowed or invested, doing everything they can to grow and prosper with limited resources. So, it 's like a punch in the intestine when an employee makes a claim against the company for a perceived or actual, but unintentional violation of a law or d & # 39; regulations. Or when a former employee has made a claim for discrimination for one of a thousand causes.

A story keeps going through my mind after several years listening to another CEO. In short, an employee with an alcohol problem that he took to work was fired after several warnings. He sued for age discrimination and received $ 500,000 for his efforts. Small business; scandalous result.

Almost all employment laws are designed to protect the employee, not the company. Minimum wage laws, workplace safety, independent testing of contractors, minimum hours required for benefits, overtime rules, protections against discrimination, etc.

Note that any poster to be displayed in a public area of ​​the business (usually the dining room) is displayed to the benefit of the employee to inform him of the rights granted by law. For most entrepreneurs, this often leads to an event whose resolution by a government agency or even a court seems unfair and illogical. Problems that seem clearly based on ineptitude turn into epic battles related to age or gender that always end badly.

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So, my advice is simple. Recognize the realities of the times and do everything possible to protect the company by documenting problems related to the behavior or skills in the employee file. Keep regular reviews for all your employees up to the top. (The President reviews the CEO, and if there is no separate chair, the CEO should ask an outside board member to do so.) Encourage Examiners to be accurate and unpolished documenting issues of concern.

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This is not contrary to my previous advice: "Fast fire, not hard", since every CEO should shoot "A" class employees and not tolerate underachievers over the course of time. time. It is an act of balance, protecting the business while ensuring that everyone who works there are contributors of level "A" or "B".