Sure, every manager makes mistakes from time to time. But there’s a huge difference between a mistake that leaves a manager red-faced, and one that lands the company in legal trouble.
Here are two of the most common manager mistakes that can kill credibility and really hurt a company in court:
1. Bad documentation. It happens all the time: An informal e-mail, memo, etc., is used in court to show discriminatory intent. To avoid this pitfall, managers should treat every communication with employees (written, spoken, etc.) as if it could be used in court someday.
2. Ignoring employee complaints. Every complaint — no matter how small — needs to be addressed by management. Failing to respond to one worker’s complaint can land you on the losing side of a lawsuit.
Best bet: have a standard complaint-resolution process that is followed evenly for every employee gripe.
In addition to these common blunders, lack of knowledge on company policies/procedures, switching up the story about an event, overdocumenting an employee’s file — especially before something adverse happens to him or her, and terminating an employee too quickly are everyday manager mistakes that can carry large legal price-tags.