The HR Daily Advisor is running a series of fascinating articles spilling the deep, dark secrets of plaintiffs’ attorneys.  They should be required reading for all HR professionals, business owners, managers and anyone else who wants to avoid spending lots of time in court.

Here’s a great quote from plaintiffs’ lawyer Whitney Warner:  “I wonder if the employer will do something dumb and fall into my hands.  And they usually do make my day.”

Without further ado, here are the TOP SIX THINGS PLAINTIFFS’ LAWYERS WISH EMPLOYERS WOULD DO MORE OFTEN:

  1. Give no (or easily disprovable) reasons for termination.
  2. Fail to take appropriate action against a high-ranking manager.
  3. Submit a poorly written EEOC response.
  4. Fail to follow your own policies.
  5. Fail to update policies when the law changes.
  6. Underestimate potential liability (especially emotional distress and punitive damages).

What should employers do?  It’s simple:  none of the above. 

Give the real, provable reason(s) for termination, without sugar-coating.  Don’t let high-ranking managers slide.  Take the time to write a complete and accurate EEOC response.  Follow your own policies and make sure they’re up-to-date (including the new FMLA changes, ADA amendments and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act).  And make sure you understand the true potential liability of your actions — it may be waaaay more than you think.

(Special thanks to Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employment Blog)