Have This Conversation
The most important legal conversation supervisors need to have, is with their human resources department concerning the subject of proper documentation. This is an area where supervisors cannot afford to get things wrong. When you are ordered into court to answer and defend yourself against a lawsuit brought by one an employee, your documentation cannot have holes in it. The number one reason companies and their supervisors lose lawsuits brought by employees is, shoddy documentation and shoddy record keeping.
And this will not change anytime soon, because managers and supervisors simply will not take the time to (1) understand the importance of properly documenting on the job incidents and events as they occur and then, (2) actual documenting those incident s and events. Once managers and supervisor step foot inside that courtroom to answer charges levied against them, they are held to a much higher standard, than if they were just another employee.
Play Offense Not Defense
Your documentation of the event in question, whether it is sexual harassment, age discrimination, gender discrimination, or any other incident, looms large in that courtroom. The attorney for the employee who is suing will systematically attempt to dismantle what the supervisor says, so your documentation is the best offense you have in a lawsuit, and it is the only defense you have in a court of law. What this means is, managers and supervisors must take the time to document every incident that happens on their watch. Remember; every document you handle as a supervisor can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Taking the – when go to court – approach to documentation ensures that ample time is given to preserve dates, timelines, people involved, and what was said and done, before, during, and after the incident in question. This is an effective offensive strategy. Conversely, an – if we go to court – approach to documentation places little importance on preservation of this important documentation. With this approach, the managers believe if it ever goes to court, that they will be able to remember events and times, and simply explain things away. Of course you can imagine these are managers who have never been in a court of law.
Not the Place to Go To School
Come into court without solid documentation and you will fight an uphill battle to win your case against that employee. There are three laws when it comes to documenting; (1) document everything, (2) document everything and (3) document everything. Follow the three laws of documentation to the letter, and you will be among the rarest of managers and supervisors who come into court to answer charges brought by an employee; a manager who wins their case.
The most important legal conversation supervisors need to have, is with their human resources department concerning the subject of proper and correct documentation. This is an area where supervisors simply cannot afford to get wrong. Your documentation of incidents and events in question will loom large in the courtroom.
© 2014 Cubie Davis King. All Rights Reserved Internationally.