If there is one thing that a small business owner wants to do above all else, is to grow their business to such a point where it is very profitable, and can consequently sustain the lifestyle he or she wants for him or herself and their family.
To this end, the one thing such an individual will usually do is work, and more so work very hard. Sometimes to such extremes and to the point where it becomes detrimental to the person’s health and sometimes family life. While this might be all well and good when it concerns the individual by themselves. It becomes quite another issue once they have one or more employees they have hired in the business and expect these individuals to make these same detrimental sacrifices for the ‘good’ of the business.
While it may not be something that may be explicitly asked or demanded, it can often be implied and expected of the employee, who more often than not, is willing to do whatever it takes to have or keep a job and the income it provides.
The downside to this is the fact that in today’s world where the vast majority of “knowledge businesses” require an employee to constantly be seated at a desk and in front of a computer screen, or otherwise engaged in a workplace or environment that is not necessarily ergonomically friendly to the maintenance of the individual’s health. When you then factor in the business owner’s extreme drive to succeed and the resultant pressures that are then placed on employees, the resultant effect is the same health detriment previously spoken about.
In other words, the combination of the business owner’s drive to succeed, in addition to the relatively new field of ergonomics, can bring about a breakdown in the health of the employees of the business. When you then factor in the litigious nature of a society like America, where lawsuits are the order of the day, then it is easy to see how an employee of a small business, who has suffered deteriorating health as a result of an ergonomically unfriendly workplace, can easily institute a lawsuit against an employer or ex employer for damages to their health while under their employ.
For anyone uninformed about what exactly ergonomics is all about, ergonomics “is the practice of designing products, systems, or processes to take proper account of the interaction between them and the people who use them.” So when it comes to the working environment of a small business, the question that gets posed then is, just how friendly is the environment, systems or processes that its employees operate in or with?
In that regard, one of the things that a small business owner might want to do, especially when starting out with a new business venture, is to make sure to consult a professional ergonomics consultant to advice and help design an ergonomically friendly work environment.
Yet another important thing such a business should consider doing is to seek the advice of a small business attorney, especially one knowledgeable about ergonomics, to help in drafting the contact that any future employee of the business will sign, making sure to draft a clause into the contract that absolves the business from liability in any ergonomically related illnesses that occurs to the employee, given how all appropriate measures have been taken, with the consultation done with the ergonomics professional, to prevent such an injury or illness.
Once the above two things are done, and a friendly work place environment is provided, then chances of a small business being slapped with such a lawsuit is very slim to minimal. Or at least chances of such a lawsuit succeeding as very slim to none.