Article - Good Employment Practices Protect Religious Organizations
As a Christian employer, you might think your employees would never sue you. Think again.
Thousands of people file discrimination charges against their employers each year, and even the best-run ministries are not exempt from being sued. But preparing for the unpleasant possibility in advance can prevent some employment conflicts and better equip your organization to deal with those that arise.
Are you protected?
Sound employment practices help your organization run smoothly and reduce the likelihood that an employment-related lawsuit will be filed.
To address the risk of such claims, your organization should:
Become familiar with employment laws in your state.
Maintain an employee handbook. Update it regularly to reflect current laws and practices.
Consult an attorney to determine how to improve your organization's employment practices, or to discuss specific situations.
Thorny employment issues often involve the areas of attendance, personal conduct, and sexual harassment. Established policies can serve as a guide for employees, and, in the case of a lawsuit, accurate documentation of policy violations can provide proof that you were justified in disciplining or terminating an employee.
Attendance: Make good record-keeping a priority.
In a situation of chronic absenteeism or tardiness, you may decide to terminate an employee after multiple warnings. But what if he claims you’re acting for other reasons?
Implementing standard procedures ahead of time will help you answer such claims and comply with employment law:
Maintain accurate, confidential personnel records.
Store the records in a secure area. Medical information, which is subject to a higher level of privacy protection, should be kept in a separate secure location.
Keep up-to-date attendance records.
Keep detailed employee performance information, such as annual reviews and any disciplinary actions.
Exclude identifying information (e.g., race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, or marital status).
Record all changes in employee status, such as promotions, leaves of absence, or pay rates.