Reducing Liability of Wrongful Termination Through Increased Staff Accountability

by Mike Tannian on September 01, 2022

Public sector agencies can prevent wrongful termination lawsuits by proactively using HR compliance software to track signatures and create an audit trail for all policies.

Article Highlights

You hear about it in the news, but you don't think it will happen to your agency: an employee who was fired for violating specific policies or procedures claims he was wrongfully terminated.

Without modern document management and signature tracking, you'll have difficulty showing that the employee attested to the original policy. If you require employees to sign paper forms, for example, they will be harder to track down when you need to prove compliance. After all, paper documents are more susceptible to being lost, misplaced, and damaged.

But with government policy and compliance software, you can prove when an employee reviewed a policy, signed it, and trained on it. Are you ready to increase staff accountability at your agency? Let’s dive deeper into this challenge and see how HR compliance software can help.

Problem: Lack of Accountability

Obsolete policy management processes lead to wasted time and a lack of staff accountability. How can you show whether staff have read a paper policy? Do they have the latest version in their binder? Do you have the signature proving they read the policy?

Outdated policy processes are inefficient by nature. It’s not easy distributing new and updated policies to your workforce via email, hoping they don’t get lost in employee inboxes. Nor is it easy holding employees accountable to review, understand, and sign documents via paper, email, Excel spreadsheets, and even internal drives. With such arduous and inefficient tasks, people (and their signatures) can slip through the cracks.

A lack of automation also means a lack of audit trails. Meaning you can’t track everyone who read, signed, tested on, commented on, and approved each version of a document. This information is critical for protecting your agency during employee disciplinary processes or lawsuits. Without an online, automated process, your staff could spend hours and hours sorting through boxes of old files, trying to find a particular form or policy from the past several years.

The problems caused by old-school policy management practices boil down to a lack of staff accountability. As a result, government agencies face a higher risk of wrongful termination lawsuits, with limited ability to prove that an employee was properly trained and informed.

NEOGOV's HR compliance software, Policy, can eliminate these problems and make critical document and audit trail information accessible in a matter of minutes, not days.

Solution: HR Compliance Software

NEOGOV's Policy software increases staff accountability for public sector agencies in several ways.

Firstly, our software captures and tracks electronic signatures. If employees know they have to sign an updated policy and take a quiz verifying comprehension, then they know they’re responsible for the information. This promotes accountability.

Policy admins can assign any document to be acknowledged and signed by employees in one of two ways: 1) By entering a username and password. Or 2) using their thumbprint or face ID on their mobile app. This verifies the employees have read and understood the document, which protects your organization against future labor disputes and lawsuits.

Policy automatically notifies your employees about documents pending their review and signature, so you don't have to personally (and constantly) remind dozens (or hundreds) of employees. Plus, employees can't say they didn’t know about the new documents.

Secondly, our software creates audit trails to protect your organization. If employee misconduct occurs, you often have to prove they signed the violated policy or procedure. NEOGOV tracks a complete history of every document in our system, including updates, comments, status, and signature history. We also store and track who has read, signed, edited, and approved each version of a document across its entire lifecycle, including archived versions of policies and their associated data.

Thirdly, Policy's dashboard and reporting functionality empower supervisors to hold staff accountable. The dashboards provide an overview of documents still needing signatures, outstanding workflows, and employees with outstanding tasks on their To-Do lists. There’s also a built-in reporting tool, which lets you see the full history of actions for a particular piece of content – who has signed it, who needs to sign it, and any document review steps.

The Benefits of Policy

Government compliance software like NEOGOV Policy promotes accountability across your organization. You're able to distribute critical documents to everyone in the organization or to specific employees based on their job function, rank, level, or department.

More importantly, you can protect your organization and reduce the liability of wrongful termination lawsuits because you can track down old versions of documents, showing who signed off on them and when.

Finally, our software empowers policy administrators to hold staff accountable. Use dashboards to view employees with completed or pending signatures, and send automatic reminders when people fail to sign in the allotted time. This saves time and energy from constantly chasing down employees to review and sign your documents.

Final Thoughts

While it doesn't happen often, it does happen – employees who violate policies and then claim ignorance, going so far as to file wrongful termination lawsuits. NEOGOV Policy lets you track signatures through an online audit trail. You're able to find the employee's signature quickly and easily, rather than searching through numerous file boxes and paper documents.

If you want to learn more about NEOGOV's Policy and how it can help you hold staff accountable to policies and procedures, sign up for a no-obligation demo today.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Director of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value to public sector HR professionals at every stage in the buying journey.

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