If you are considering firing one or multiple employees, you may be doing this for financial reasons or because you are not satisfied with these individuals’ performance and their attitude to work. Firing an employee is never a pleasant experience. You may feel guilt or sadness for making a person out of work. But it’s also possible that you will become worried about the potential legal consequences of wrongfully terminating an employee.
You must engage in careful thought before firing an employee so that you can avoid accidental wrongful termination and the associated legal consequences. The following are things that you should consider before firing an employee.
Do you have a valid reason?
If the employee is employed under an “at-will” employment contract, you can technically fire them for no reason at all. However, it’s always best to be able to give a truthful reason for making the firing. It could be because your company is struggling financially or you may be dissatisfied with the employee’s performance.
Can you give proof of your reasoning?
If you are firing an employee for a specific reason, can you give proof? For example, if you are firing an employee for poor performance, you should have evidence of poor performance reviews or other indicators of their underperformance.
Are you being discriminatory?
It’s never acceptable to fire an employee for a discriminatory reason. If an employee’s disability, race, nationality, religious beliefs, pregnancy, gender or sexual orientation is any factor in your decision to fire them, this is unlawful. If you are accused of discrimination or retaliation after firing someone, this could lead to legal consequences and could additionally harm your business’ reputation.
Are you fulfilling all your legal requirements?
Make sure that you look into the employee’s employment contract before firing them to check what compensation or commission you may owe them. Failing to pay them what they deserve could lead to further legal disputes.
If you are considering firing employees but you are worried about whether you are complying with the law, you should take the time to understand what the specific employment contract means in terms of your legal obligations. Make sure that you proceed with caution to protect your own interests.