While there' s no vaccination against costly harassment lawsuits, one good way to protect yourself is withan effective employment practices audit.
In an employment practices audit, an employment law firm thoroughly reviews all policies, practices andprocedures where an employer has interaction with its workforce to pinpoint potential trouble spots. "Itgoes from hiring to termination or retirement and everything in between," says Gerald L. Maatman Jr.,chairman of the employment law practice group of Baker and McKenzie in Chicago. The goal is to savemoney, improve personnel policies and practices, augment management' s discretion over its workforce,and resolve potential employment-related liability exposures before they escalate into costly litigation.
"You want to make the company as bulletproof as possible," Maatman says. Plus, an audit helps acompany "create the best possible state-of-the-art HR system so that at the end of the day you are theemployer of choice. You want to be the one applicants and employees seek out as a great employer towork for."
According to Maatman, the audit:
"Insurance companies hired me," Maatman says. About 15 percent of U.S. companies have employmentpractices liability insurance coverage, and some insurance companies require that companies thatpurchase coverage go through the audit process.
"I have done 500 to 700 audits in the last decade. I do a very formal process. There are probably alsosome who do it informally as a self-improvement process," he says.
How much does it cost to have an audit conducted by an employment attorney? It can range from $1,500 to$20,000, but Maatman estimates that it averages $4,000 to $6,000.
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