With the laws and regulations governing leave changing every year, it is important for Michigan businesses to keep abreast of the laws to ensure they are complying with the legal requirements. Although businesses face losses in regards to productivity and other areas in relation to leave, the largest expense businesses often face in connection to leave is potential litigation.
In addition to staying current with the changes in law, employers should ensure they have a regular and open communication channel with their employees regarding the requirements of laws including the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Through proper documentation of leave requests as well as the communication, employers may thus help reduce fraudulent requests while also ensuring compliance with the legal requirements.
The potential costs associated with employment litigation can devastate a small business. Reportedly, the average cost of a wrongful termination verdict in such cases is around $335,000. In addition to the potential costs of litigation, employers may also face indirect costs, including such things as potential damage to the company's reputation, future difficulties with recruiting key personnel and management time losses associated with the litigation.
It is obviously quite important for small businesses to take steps to reduce the likelihood of employment litigation. By remaining aware of legal and regulatory changes, employers can reduce the chance that they may inadvertently run afoul of the laws governing medical leave. It may be a good idea for businesses to seek the advice of a commercial law and business firm regarding the laws and their policies and procedures governing leave. A commercial law and business attorney may be able to review the company's policies and make recommendations to the business in conforming with the latest legal and regulatory requirements. Doing so may help avoid costs associated with litigation.
Source: Entrepreneur, "Prepare for Family Leave Laws and Avoid Litigation Later", Leo Corcoran, December 12, 2014