Every day small to midsize business owners place their businesses intentionally at risk
without even realizing it. Business owners are under the impression that the Department of
Labor Laws (DOL) do not apply to them, they do not have to worry about employees
complaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or they won’t be... sued
by someone who works for them. Why do they think that? The reasons vary from being a “small”
company and the DOL only goes after “big” companies, their friends who are business owners
do not follow these rules and are doing fine, or the person(s) working for them is not that
smart.

Yet, many of these small to midsize business owners have core values plastered on
their walls that state phrases like, “do the right thing”, “integrity”, “accountability” and so on.
Apparently, these values do not apply when doing right by employees, protecting their business
or when it comes to following labor laws.

My classic question to these business owners is – How many employees or contractors
does it take to call an attorney, the DOL or the EEOC? The answer is ONE.
As a business owner, you are stressed. Meeting customer expectations, finding new
customers, managing your employees or contractors, and meeting your budget. Those stresses
do not compare to the stress that occurs when you are being sued, audited by the EEOC,
and/or by the DOL.
With regards to lawsuits, a report by, NationalFunding.com in March 2020 indicated, “up
to 53% of small businesses are involved in at least one lawsuit at any given time and the threat
of litigation impacts small businesses across virtually every industry.” They noted the most
common reasons for a lawsuit are, “issues regarding intellectual property, harassment, wage
disputes, property accidents and injuries.” SmallBizDaily stated, “based on a study by the
National Center for State Courts the median combined costs of lawsuits for both parties ranged
from $50,000 to above $100,000.”

Here are some examples of the average costs per lawsuit:
● $54,000 for a premises liability lawsuit, such as a slip and fall lawsuit.
● $88,000 for an employment lawsuit, such as discrimination or workers’ comp lawsuit.
● $91,000 for a contract lawsuit, such as a breach of contract lawsuit.
This does not include court costs, lawyer fees, time away from your business,
interruption of operations due to employees meeting with attorneys, working on finding needed
information, and worst of all, what the attorney may uncover as they are talking to employees or
going through records. A whole new set of investigations can be brought up from these findings.
So, what can you or your business do to help prevent or prepare for this inevitable
situation? Keep a lookout for my next blog in this series that discusses the steps you can take!

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