Employment Suits

It seems like a huge percentage of the people we fire for cause, even after warnings and write-ups, etc, immediately threaten to sue us or report us to the Department of Labor or both.  Several times a year, I get contacted by an employee's lawyer, though generally nothing comes of it except wasting a lot of my time.  Ditto the Department of Labor.  According to George's Employment Blawg, we are not alone:

In many Federal district courts, employment-related litigation represents 50% or more of all court filings, and approximately 98% of lawsuits are resolved outside of court.

Small businesses (i.e., businesses with fewer than 50 employees) are not exempt either. This newsletter notes that it is not uncommon for such businesses to have 3 or 4 claims of employment discrimination annually!

In many cases, I think the need to do this is psychological - a kind of face saving to convince themselves that their job failure was due to someone else's shortcomings rather than their own.  This article has some more advice on terminations to help cut down on suits.

Beyond this explanation, there are also people out there who want to deal with all problems through litigation.  I have had people send lawyers after the company when they never once brought their concerns to a manager -- they just went straight to a lawyer, either because that is the modern way or because they are looking for an opportunity for an easy pay-off.

Something I would love to see, but will never happen, is a list of "serial litigators" to avoid.  I know a couple of people tried this but got shut down.  Too bad.  We had one such person seek employment at one of our establishments.  This is all this person does for a "living" - seek employment, show up at the job interview limping with a cane, and then suing people for discrimination if he is not hired.  Apparently this person has nearly a hundred different lawsuits going.