Tricky Wage Situations That Could Get Your Business In Legal Trouble

24 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Are you a business owner? If so, you may not have realized that you are making some mistakes with your business practices, especially if you have been in business for many years and never had a legal dispute. Unfortunately, some business owners find out the hard way that their actions can put them at risk of being sued. Just because no one has filed a lawsuit against you thus far does not mean no one ever will. The following are a few things you might be doing that could cause problems for your business.

Unpaid Interns

Some business owners think of hiring interns as a great way to get some free work accomplished at their businesses. Many of these well-meaning business owners also assume that the interns will appreciate any knowledge gained from the internships. Unfortunately, some interns file lawsuits for wages when their internships end, and some may be awarded judgments for unpaid labor. If you want to hire interns, you need to ensure that you are compliant with labor laws. Aim for an educational setting for them to gain experience. Ensure they understand that there will not be a job offer if you have not intentions of hiring them. This will protect your business interests. 

Unpaid Work Hours

Perhaps you have employees who clock out on time but remain on the premises completing various tasks. Their after-hours work could put you at risk for being sued for unpaid wages. Even if an employee willingly performs these duties, it is possible that they could become a disgruntled employee in the future. They might decide to seek wages, and your company could be subject to paying them. 

Unclear Job Scope

Some of your employees may have several skills, and you may allow them to use those skills at their leisure. However, if you have employees performing duties outside of their job description, your business could get in trouble. For example, an employee might decide to seek unpaid wages if they are not being paid the correct salary or hourly wage for the duties performed. Imagine paying a cashier who performs office and accounting duties a cashier's wage and also listing their job title as cashier. 

A business lawyer is a good resource to use to get more info and to determine whether you have some unfair business practices in place. They are also the best resource to use if you get sued. Some business owners make the mistake of trying to "pay off" people who sue them, thinking that it will be cheaper than litigation. This can put them at more risk for lawsuits from people unscrupulous individuals. Business lawyers can negotiate settlements when ideal, but they can also determine whether your business actually has a strong case and could possibly win.