The word "litigation" is a term that alarms and even terrifies many business principals.
And for good reasons. For starters, taking a business dispute to court or defending against a legal claim is a fundamentally unpredictable proposition. Risks abound in litigation; certainty seldom attaches to a judge's or jury's ultimate determinations concerning a legal conclusion.
And then there is cost, both in terms of financial outlays and expended company resources. Public relations, too, can come to the fore in a given lawsuit, reaping adverse consequences for a commercial entity that has worked hard to gain consumers' trust.
We flatly note on our website at the established New Haven business law firm of Berdon, Young & Margolis that a court-litigated dispute "can be expensive, time-consuming and distracting" for any company owner. When possible, most business managers strive to avoid litigation.
And, in fact, they can often do so through the crafting of thoughtful strategies that duly consider risks and seek to avoid or maximally minimize them through careful advance planning.
A case in point is a company's formal approach to dealing with a worker who has unquestionably become a problem in the workplace. Maybe that employee's behavior needs to be checked and corrected. Alternatively, it might be the case that his or her job performance is deficient and needs addressing.
Company officials often seek to deal with such matters by following through in select cases with written warnings issued in the wake of verbal reprimands that failed to produce desired effects.
A recent article written by the Society for Human Resource Management (a major HR-focused organization) spotlights that scenario. It notes especially that so-called "progressive disciplinary policies" need to be carefully considered and implemented in cases of reprimand or censure, especially when a company response is in writing. Failure to exercise due care can promote the above-cited risk of litigation.
We will take a closer look at what the SHRM piece centrally conveys in our next blog post, hoping that the key details are both informative and useful to Connecticut business principals.