Businesses of all sizes rely on managers and supervisors to provide leadership and guidance to employees. And these parties are often the first people employees turn to when they have a concern or question.
Considering how much managers can be responsible for, it is crucial that employers take steps to properly train them. This includes educating them on employment laws and workplace policies so that they can make good decisions and avoid causing a problem that leads to a lawsuit.
For instance, recently a former employee of Wegmans grocery stores filed a lawsuit against the company citing alleged violations of her rights.
According to her claim, the woman says that she requested leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, as she was suffering from anxiety and depression. However, instead of pursuing the proper channels to consider the request, the manager allegedly told the woman to “suck it up.” She says she was harassed after making the request and ultimately fired for absences and tardiness issues.
Wegmans has yet to respond and the case has not gone to court, so whether there is truth to these allegations or not remains to be seen.
However, there are lessons Albuquerque business owners can learn from this case and others like it. Even if your business has solid practices in place, a responsive Human Resources team and clearly defined policies in an employee handbook, those may not do much good if a manager does not know the rules or comply with them.
As such, employers should make management training a top priority. Make sure managers and supervisors know how to respond to issues regarding harassment, leave requests and other workplace disputes that employees may report to them. Failure to do this could lead to bad decisions and exposure to employee lawsuits.
This case may also be a good reminder that there are at least two sides to these cases. Before making any assumptions or decisions, it can be crucial to consider the legal options, investigate the claims thoroughly and be cautious with how you respond.