Protecting your company from staff claims with strong contracts

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As the owner, manager or executive of a commercial transportation company, you know how hard it can be to attract and retain the best professional drivers. Commercial driving is a demanding career and commercial drivers have relatively high turnover rates.

When you hire someone new to drive for your company, the contract that you sign with them protects you from future claims by that worker. Including certain provisions in your employment contract can help you avoid litigation and other forms of employee conflict.

Be clear about your stance on job termination, discipline and severance pay

Having a thorough policy in your employment contract regarding how you discipline workers and their rights if you choose to terminate their job is very important. Being clear about what benefits and severance pay, if any, you offer is also of the utmost importance.

Many individuals fired may presume that their termination was wrongful if they have inaccurate assumptions about the job, its duration or their rights. When disciplining workers, written documentation for every disciplinary effort is critical on the off chance that you will need to defend your decision to terminate that worker later.

Thoroughly outline your stance on driving infractions and arrests

When a commercial driver gets pulled over while at the wheel of a commercial truck, their citation can have a ripple effect on their career and your company. Depending on the nature of the citation, it may cost substantially more to insure that driver after an officer issues a ticket.

Creating a policy regarding traffic infractions, such as a zero-tolerance policy for moving violations while in one of your trucks, could help protect you if you take disciplinary measures against a driver who received a ticket.

Additionally, you may want to outline your stance on arrests that happened off the clock, especially if the arrest has anything to do with alcohol or drugs. Having a firm policy on these issues will help reduce your liability as a company while also creating clear consequences for your workers.

Make sure you address discrimination and harassment

Although most truck drivers will be alone on the road for the majority of their work, they will have to interact with other drivers, warehouse or loading dock staff and administrative staff at your business. Offer training on various forms of harassment and discrimination, if possible, and include a zero-tolerance policy for the mistreatment of or discrimination toward other workers because of protected characteristics.

Creating good contracts now can reduce the amount of conflict your company has to deal with in the future. Drafting a contract often requires experience and legal insight, so getting the right help can make all the difference.