With Employee Practice Liability (EPL) cases on the rise, it is paramount for employers to be aware of potential lawsuits that could impact their ministry. Some cases occur more frequently than others, and we have outlined the most common employer disputes:
Example scenario: An employer offers their employees full salary benefits, including medical, dental, vision coverage and a retirement plan. However, the employee never signs any of the papers to elect those coverages. The employer is now at risk of getting sued by the employee once they find out.
Pro tip: Always be upfront with your employees on their benefits and required document signatures. This will not only protect the employee but the employer as well. Whether they are a W-2 employee or a 1099 contractor, employees should always be aware of their employment status and how that affects their taxes. It is the responsibility of the employer to clearly communicate that with their employees.
Example scenario: An employee is terminated from their position at their church. Through a lack of communication, there is an unclear reason for their termination. The employee speculates and comes to their own conclusion for the cause of termination. Ultimately, he or she feels discriminated against and decides to file against their church.
Pro tip: Communicate with your employee clearly and regularly regarding their performance. In those communications, document everything. From background checks, email communications to performance evaluations, make sure to record and safely file it.
Example scenario: A male staff member inappropriately jokes with a female staff member at a church. The joke is not received well, and the female staff member reports the incident to her superior. The superior does not think the joke was ill-meant and opts not to make any waves and lets the incident slide. Feeling violated and then unheard and unprotected, the female staff member takes the matter to the courts.
Pro tip: Have protocols in place to deal with any incidents between staff members or volunteers. Make sure every employee knows what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Regularly educate your staff and volunteers with sexual harassment and discrimination training. Ensure managers enforce these policies to prevent incidents from occurring but then also the process to correct them if they occur.
We designed these resources to empower your ministry and its people to stay protected. If you have any further questions about how to protect your ministry, feel free to reach out to a GuideStone® team member today at (214) 720-2868, and they'll be glad to help. With GuideStone on your side, your ministry can manage risks while focusing on spreading the good news.