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Green Litigation for Corporations

Mar 5, 2008
Attorneys are looking more and more at the liabilities arising from environmental compliance and regulation. When we think of green cleaning, we think of saving the trees not killing the corporation down the street. Part of the legal process is advising and consulting with corporations facing a new spate of regulations. Law schools are offering classes in environmental law, torts, and health-related issues. The sudden rise of environmental attorneys sends a warning to businesses everywhere. Obviously, litigation is coming on a level as never seen before.

Traditionally, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a building-related health problem affecting a number of people in the building. There is another form of SBS, and it is Building Related Illness (BRI) where it only takes one person to suffer from a building threat. SBS creates a pervasive health problem for all employees in the building. BRI does not happen very often, but when combined with the growth of BRI suits, we can only expect more of the same in the future. BRI needs only one person to get sick instead of several employees in the building. Thinks about it! Just one sick person opens the door to a vicious lawsuit that could cause hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend, and may cost your company many hundreds of thousands more in a big judgment.

When we think of environmental lawsuits, we imagine large scale polluting companies that do great harm to the environment. Yet, there are many more opportunities for an attorney to find a sick person from your company and make the claim that their condition was caused or exacerbated by a failure to protect their health. It would probably surprise you to realize how many people in your company are candidates for a BRI suit right now. The next question is, "What are you doing about it?"

No one wants a lawsuit, and no one thinks that it will happen to them anyway. Unfortunately, once the lawsuit starts, there is no affordable way to stop it, fix what went wrong, or just walk away. Civil lawsuits will not send you to jail, but they are seeking large cash settlements. They seem to be random in nature, and no one is exempt. No one is safe from a nasty lawsuit, and it could be you in the next legal fight. We cannot predict who will be the next company sued, but we can say for sure that many more suits are on the way.

The best approach is called "Litigation Mitigation," which means you actively eliminate the potential risks before they have a chance to occur. Secondly, get proactive by demanding that your janitorial service is Green Clean certified. It is not enough to have a service that simply replaces old non-green products for new green products. Green cleaning is both technique and product to be effective.

It makes sense to include a demand in all cleaning contracts requiring the workforce to have training and certification in Green cleaning principles. With the flood of issues that can impact an office or company, why would anyone employ a service that thinks that their job ends with shiny floors or dusted shelves?

Janitorial firms can earn their Green Clean certification from the Green Clean Institute. This certification is not expensive, difficult, or intrusive. It allows the company to make a cohesive transition to green products and green practices. It is an easy to prevent a preventable lawsuit from a person who suffers from environmental mistakes.
About the Author
Green Clean Institute offers the only federal trademark course for green clean certification for janitorial services. In this environmentally-conscious age, green clean services have become a huge demand by companies everywhere.
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