It is not often that you will find your employees facing legal troubles. But in case they do, where do you stand there? How can you help them, or should you help at all? In addition to the stress that legal problems cause, employees also lose interest in working and becoming more productive at work. This is of interest to employers as lower productivity at work means lower efficiency of the business.
Whether an employer has to help with an employee’s legal troubles is a tricky one. On the one hand, you should help when you can, especially if not helping, which will affect your business negatively. On the other, personal problems should be left at home. No employee should bring his/her personal legal troubles at work. However, there are many instances where you have to help your employees deal with their legal problems. This is important, especially if your employees can’t hire or consult with a lawyer.
In case of accidents, you may be the only one that an employee can run to. Not everyone has a lawyer on retainer. Your business has, though. Even though your business lawyer is not a brain injury lawyer, he can still give your employee—who figured in a car accident, for example—legal advice about how to deal with the police and the other party. Free legal advice is always welcome and warranted. After all, most people don’t know how to react the moment the accident happens. Most of them go blindly into the process of filing a case and claiming insurance.
The least an employer can do is provide free legal assistance as much as the employee needs. This will even add to the company’s expenses because the lawyer is already on retainer. If you don’t like to use your business lawyer, you can always provide legal benefits or allow your employees to take a leave from work to deal with their legal problems.
What if an employee is going through a divorce or custody battle? Should you interfere with that problem? Most people will have a family lawyer taking care of this issue. But again, if you think your company lawyer can give great advice on how to be on the good side of the judge, then so be it. This is especially important for techniques on how to win a custody battle. Judges will look at your employees’ work performance, as well as the stability of the job they work for. This is why, in a way, companies are also affected by an employee’s custody battle.
If you believe your employee should win that case, do your part in making sure you come up with glowing recommendations about your employee. It would be best if you also compensated them justly, so they have reasonable ground to get full or shared custody of their children. Sometimes, when a judge has to decide a custody case, it all boils down to how much each parent earns.
What if your employee got himself involved in criminal activity? What role will you play there? In truth, it is always hard to toe the line when it comes to these situations. But it is you who should consult with your business lawyer. What steps should you take to protect your business? Can you dismiss your employee, or should you wait for the verdict lest you’ll be branded as discriminatory? What rights do you hold in protecting your business interests and reputation?
Your lawyer will tell you to cooperate with the authorities. If you are summoned to the court, you can send your lawyer in your stead. The lawyer should have all the necessary information about the employee—the work history, employment, ethics, human resource evaluation, and many more. Protecting your business is your most primary objective when an employee gets involved in a crime. However, always make sure not to step on anyone’s toes when you’re trying to protect your company from liabilities.
Whether you’re a small business or had made a name for yourself in the past years, always make sure to get yourself a lawyer. While you won’t always need a lawyer for personal or even corporate reasons, having one in retainer will help you immediately access the information and legal advice you need. This is why it’s worth it to shell out a couple of hundreds of bucks each month to retain a lawyer. And if your lawyer can help your employees deal with their legal troubles as well, then all the better.