Sunday, January 30, 2011

You Can Train Me Now or You Can Train Me Later

Employee training can cost a lot of money. Not training your employees can cost even more. In lawsuits, courts and regulatory agencies sometimes impose after-the-fact training requirements in addition to large monetary penalties. Consider these actual cases:

A dealership faced a wide range of complaints, including failure to disclose material defects and misrepresenting sales and extended service contract prices, and was ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution to victims, plus $300,000 to the state Department of Consumer Protection. As part of the settlement, the dealer also agreed to initiate a mandatory education program for all its employees within 60 days of the settlement, instructing employees on state consumer protection laws.

A jury awarded a $14.4 million wrongful death verdict against a dealership that performed a faulty tire repair and failed to take the tire out of service, leading to a rollover crash that killed a couple. As a condition of the post-verdict settlement, the dealer agreed to implement a training program to better train its technicians about safe tire repair practices to improve consumer safety.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), entered into a $1.5 million settlement of a sex and age discrimination lawsuit with an auto dealership. Along with the monetary penalty, under a consent decree the dealership must provide current employees with four hours of EEO training annually and new hires must receive such training within ten days of employment.

The EEOC reached a $700,000 settlement of a national origin, religion and racial discrimination lawsuit against another dealership. According to the Consent Decree resolving the case, the dealership is required to hire a presenter approved by the EEOC to provide annual training to all of its managers and supervisory personnel on all aspects of Title VII.

What’s that old expression about closing the barn door after the horses are out?