Handling Lawsuits Involving HR

Posted September 9, 2016 by Mary McGinley

In a $250 million class-action gender bias lawsuit filed against Merck & Company, a New Jersey federal mandate judge ordered the company to produce all employment and compensation data for all of its sales representatives that worked for the company between mid-2009 and December 1st, 2010.

No human resources professional ever wants to be in a situation where they are asked to open their human resource management system due to a lawsuit being filed against the company. It can be a legal minefield and a frustrating process unless you know what to do.

Litigation holds can be confusing. Here are a few points on effective ways to ensure you are in compliance with a court order and are still able to complete your necessary tasks.

A Litigation Hold: What needs to be done?

When served with a litigation hold, your company must preserve all data that may be related to the lawsuit. This means that all printed or electronic data must be kept until such time that it is no longer needed.

Some human resource management software packages feature automated removal or verification of documents that are according to federal guidelines. These functions must be disabled in order to preserve the information that the court may need.

While a potential case is in litigation, a hold also requires you to provide information to your attorney on the layout of your HRMS, as well as the nature of the data contained in the HRMS and the best methods to extract the data and in a way that allows relevant information to be discovered in a relevant fashion.

Failure to Preserve Relevant Information.

Once a company has been informed of a pending lawsuit the preservation of all relevant information is key. Not to do so could mean your company having to face serious consequences and repercussions for not preserving the relevant information that is needed in court. If information is lost, it may be assumed by the side bringing the lawsuit that your firm has something to hide. It will be up to you to show that this was not the case and to avoid even more serious problems as a result.

Extracting needed information from your HRMS system

Even if you do manage to preserve all information that is requested by the Court, getting that information out again so that it is both relevant and discoverable can be tricky. Not all HRMS software is created the same. However, most can be exported into a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel so that it can be accessed as requested for such litigations.

Going to court over a potential HR issue can be stress filled and frustrating. Litigation holds are just some of the things that HR professionals must face. It’s a good idea to document everything, but also to know what information is relevant for any potential suit.

At Einstein HR, we can help you with all your HR needs. We are committed to providing service and screening above and beyond what our clients expect. We can also offer you the most effective ways of keeping and tracking important HR information for your company and help you leverage the information when it’s critical. Contact us today to learn the ways that EinsteinHR can help.