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Since 2005, my company had 18 worker comp lawsuits and two civil lawsuits alleging unpaid overtime, not getting 1-hour uninterrupted lunch breaks, not getting 10-minute breaks, retaliation, wrongful termination, age discrimination and a lot more. One civil lawsuit was for $1.2 million and I settled for $25,000. I currently have two ex-employees suing me through the same attorney. There was no dollar amount on the lawsuit and they are asking to settle only if I will pay them $350,000.

In this last case, my attorney fees for the last two months was $25,000 and since March I paid another $20,000 totaling $45,000. The scariest part about the cost is that so far the only work my attorney did was she made a few phone calls and together with myself, her assistant and my attorney the only distance the lawsuit has progressed is we answered 260 pages of interrogatories (questions) asked by the plaintiffs' attorney. It is not fun to have to go through 260 pages, read every question carefully, constantly refer to hundreds of pages of records for the answers and dates and then enter the answers onto a file my attorney uses to transfer the answers to the forms she sends to the plaintiff's attorney. If you think answering a lawsuit is as simple as a phone call to an attorney and writing a check then think again, I personally invested more that 150 hours to answer questions and produce documents and videos.

The $45,000 paid so far is actually reasonable since my attorney charges me only $250 per hour, her assistant charges $125 per hour and I know for a fact that the assistant probably spent 80 to 100 hours working on the 260 pages of questions.

But, the future looks really dim because we get to ask the plaintiffs' attorney hundreds of questions and that will cost a bundle. Then, a judge already ordered mediation and that costs about $10,000. I am positive the plaintiffs are not entitled to one penny. So, I don't really feel like having a mediator tell me I should settle for any dollar amount because I will save money by avoiding a trial that could result in severe penalties.

Regardless, of my horror stories, I just read an article stating that 60% of all the employers were sued by employees since 2015 and 2015 was the year I has 15 worker comp lawsuits. I had 1 in 2016 and 2 in 2018 totaling 18 plus 2 civil lawsuits.

If you are a 1 or 2-horse operation you probably don't have to worry, but don't ever think you know an employee won't sue you because when an employee loses his job the employee is usually angry, needs money and his needs will always come first.

The biggest hurdle employers have to try to avoid lawsuits is they need to spend a very significant amount of time reading about employment laws and then spend a significant amount of time writing and re-writing company policies to try to ward off lawsuits. Sadly, it is impossible to fully protect yourself.

Costco had a woman with hearing difficulties working in a warehouse. The woman complained to her manager saying the company did not accommodate her hearing problem. Costco installed special cameras for hearing disable people and paid people to monitor her sign language and translate what she was saying to her co-workers. Costco sent her and her manager to a special class. Later, Costco brought in an new manager who was specially trained to work with hearing-disabled people. The Costco worker was loud, rude and abusive to the new manager, was warned several times and fired. The woman sued Costco for wrongful termination failure to accommodate her disability and won $750,000. Later, the case was overturned.

I just read a Radio Shack case that is exactly the same as my case. A worker filed a Class Action suit stating he he was not allowed to take lunch breaks or 10-minute breaks. He said Radio Shack has a special Time Card Machine that told workers when to take their breaks, but they could not take their breaks because the stores were understaffed and they had to ask a manager.

Just like my company, Radio Shack employees signed a statement stating they knew they had to take their breaks, or they had to enter missed breaks on their time cards so they could be paid. Radio Shack also had written policies that said it was cause for termination if an employee did not get breaks and the employee did not report that to management.

When you get sued you don't get sued for one action you think you can beat. Our lawsuits consist of a boiler plate that has no less than 18 causes of action and this is because the plaintiffs' attorney is fishing and hoping that such a large number will make you want to settle for a larger amount to avoid an expensive trial.

For my current case, I obviously care about the cost, but unlike my previous case I settled for $25,000, I think I will go the full distance even if the total cost is more that $100,000. Maybe, it was a terrible decision to settle for $25,000 for the previous case because that only told my other employees think, at the time, is they can profit b.s. lawsuits. The employees have absolutely nothing to lose. Nothing is done to employees even when they are caught lying.
 

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Wow, that is a lot of law suits! In 23 years, I only had one employee threaten a law suit because he cut the top of his finger off on a table saw. My workers comp insurance took care of that threat with no cost to me.

Dealing with employees is not for the faint of heart and one of the main reasons I sold my company and retired from being a GC. Now I fly solo and love it!
 

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How someone is terminated can go a long way to avoiding a suit. I was always friendly and caring when I gave someone the boot. There's an art to it.

Many of them, I had an employment law consultant guiding me through. He got a kick out of some if what I did
 

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How someone is terminated can go a long way to avoiding a suit. I was always friendly and caring when I gave someone the boot. There's an art to it.

Many of them, I had an employment law consultant guiding me through. He got a kick out of some if what I did
I agree. I think it's time to stop blaming your workers and try to figure out what you are doing wrong.

-Hal
 

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I agree. I think it's time to stop blaming your workers and try to figure out what you are doing wrong.

-Hal
BINGO!!!!!

problems with employees can cause a guy to drink...

however, it has been my experience that employers, or the supervisors they employ, that are too much like a HARDCORE Marine DI with a dose of arse hole, have more problems than others....

i am not condoning nor recommending kissing a guys ass or wiping his snot nose, but there are good and bad ways to deal with employees...

now to put this in perspective i have had a few legit comp claims but never been sued otherwise...

i have also been described as a cross between a DI and a stand up comedian...:laughing::whistling

but it has worked for me for a lot of years...
 

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Not just employees. Sub-contractors will sue as well.

Sub hurt his finger, on one of my jobs. I wasn't there. That's why I have subs, so I don't have to do everything. 3 years later, he sues me. Claims he was an employee. Obviously not and I have all my records. He had nothing.
Insurance company settled. I told them not to. They agreed, they would win in court, but it was cheaper to settle than go to court.

That is the problem. These lawyers know they can take on any case, ask for a million, settle for pennies, but they still get 40%. They know insurance companies will settle out of court. Until this is changed, it won't stop. Change the law, when a lawyer loses in court, they have to pay damages.

It does seem like you have alot of lawsuits, but I also don't know how large your company is. Lawsuits are contagious. In my previous job, one person had a legitimate injury while on the clock. He didn't sue. The insurance company offered him $60,000 as a settlement. When the other employees found out, all of a sudden they were competing for the largest settlement. In the 10 years that followed, the work comp claims went through the roof. One guy got 2 settlements in the six digits.
 

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I found out my ex-employer was deducting lunch breaks from my pay when I wasn't taking them. (I could drive through and eat in the truck on the way from job to job.) I wasn't asking for anything I didn't earn. They paid me, but his wife who did the books was really pissed. Go figure.
 

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I found out my ex-employer was deducting lunch breaks from my pay when I wasn't taking them. (I could drive through and eat in the truck on the way from job to job.) I wasn't asking for anything I didn't earn. They paid me, but his wife who did the books was really pissed. Go figure.
I'd fire you for that if you did it again.
 

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I found out my ex-employer was deducting lunch breaks from my pay when I wasn't taking them. (I could drive through and eat in the truck on the way from job to job.) I wasn't asking for anything I didn't earn. They paid me, but his wife who did the books was really pissed. Go figure.
Maybe it's different here in Cali, but lunch breaks and two 15s are required no matter what. I think the exception to that rule if you are doing a big mud day pour and you can't leave the job site which is made up on a different day/time.
 
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