I Figured Out The Problem, But It May Cost Me Thousands of Dollars?
The setup: in a recent Facebook group we follow, there was a thread regarding a female staff member that was regularly forgetting to perform some of her daily tasks. Based on the post, this staff member was a valued employee but this issue was causing major concerns about her future with management and the employer.
The employer believes that he/she may have found the cause. Remembering that the staff member has/is going through menopause, the employer Googled “menopause memory loss” and found that 60% of women have memory loss during menopause. So the question posed to the group was, how to should approach this?
As usual, the group had great suggestions,…....or were they? Most had suggestions such as; work with her, make checklists, have Siri remind her. One particular comment stood out from a woman that was trying to help, and while her heart was in the right place, this could lead to an expense of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the business and their insurance company (if they have insurance for this?)..
Her suggestion was to sit down and talk to her about her menopause and suggest that the lady see her doctor. I want to reiterate, this was an honorable suggestion to help work through this valued employees issue. It is also the type of action that anyone of us that care for our employees could/would do! Here’s why we shouldn’t; what if this employee does not “get better” and the management or employer has to do their fiduciary duty and terminate her employment? What happens then? Since they just recently expressed their concerns to her, the concerns were medical, woman related and aged based! Are you starting to see an issue and can you see the checks being written?
Today we have to be so careful.............getting involved in any one of these areas opens the business (any business) up for major lawsuits! Think about how hard the hiring process was (or should have been), avoiding questions that involve medical issues, age questions, religious beliefs, ethnicities and such? They all can be construed as a source of discrimination and all are actionable (a lawsuit) in most States. Discrimination suits are almost never won by the defendant (Owners, Employers) and have caused businesses to fail even if they had insurance for such issues. Sure the insurance may cover the claim, but do you think you’ll get that insurance again at a reasonable cost? We have a current client that lost a workers comp lawsuit a couple years ago and his comp insurance went from around $1500 to $5500 a month for the next couple years! If your business can not sustain that kind of increase, you’ll close your doors and go to work for someone else!
The short version here is to be prepared, NEVER say or write anything about anyone that cannot be proved in a court of law! Don’t speculate, EVER! Be prepared to know the law to the best of your ability, have a coach/trainer available to bounce questions off of, and have an attorney on retainer for any legal questions or issues that may/could arise! Always treat your employees with respect and hope that they still like you even after they leave or are fired. Sometimes treating them as you would want to be treated may be enough, but not always, so keep them as happy as possible.
Finally, try to not ever fire an employee for cause as this leads most employers open to wrongful discrimination lawsuits. Make sure that when you let someone go regardless of the reason that you simply state; “we’re making changes and those changes no longer include you”! NO discussions as to why, and absolutely NO comments from you or your managerial staff to the employee, ever! This may not keep them from trying to sue you, but it should limit the liabilities to the company and you!
Please Note; for any and all legal advice consult an attorney specializing in the type of law needed before saying or doing anything that may result in a lawsuit. We are neither attorney’s nor are we giving any legal advice! We are simply relaying our experiences in these matters.
If you need help with your business and want to see and feel the successes you expected when you opened your doors, give us a call at:;
The ACT Group, 805-444-2598 or visit our website for more information www.automotivecoachingandtraining.com