May 2016
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The Best Defense for Costly Lawsuits is Training
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Employment regulations are continuing to grow in number and complexity. In the past few months, federal agencies have released new guidelines with implications for a variety of American workplace issues, including on-the-job injury reporting, background checks, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and even bathroom access policies for transgender workers. Because of increased regulations, the number of lawsuits against organizations is also on the rise. These include an increase in sexual orientation discrimination suits, as well as claims for fair pay under the Fair Labor Standards Acts and first amendment protections related to actions taken against employees who criticize their employers on social media. The costs for defending against these suits are tremendous, and depending on the organization’s resources, they can range from inconsequential to devastating. A significant portion of these costs could be saved, however, by investing in compliance training. “Not only do such programs communicate a consistent message to all employees and help prevent workplace violations before they happen,” writes Tony Puckett, a labor and employment attorney, “[But] the courts have stated repeatedly that annual training for employees on employment laws is necessary for a company to demonstrate good-faith efforts to comply with its legal requirements, and to avoid enhanced damages like costly punitive damages.”

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