Most employers don’t want to face claims of wrongful termination, discrimination or other unfair practices related to an employee’s dismissal. One way to prevent this is to ensure that the termination process is transparent and handled in a manner that reduces the risk of claims.
What are the best steps to take to protect your business from legal issues related to terminations?
The decision to terminate an employee is usually only made after all other avenues have been exhausted. Even in “at- will” states like California and Nevada, it’s important that the managers and supervisors who have worked with the employee document the issues that are present, as well as what corrective actions they’ve taken. This shows that the company has put an honest effort into helping the employee retain their position.
Once it’s evident that the employee needs to be terminated, ensure that the actual termination meeting is handled with compassion. While it can help to explain the reasons for termination to the employee, it is not required. Remember, it is difficult to convince the employee that you are justified in terminating their employment, so don’t try. A brief statement that they are not performing as needed should suffice. We recommend you consult with an attorney before putting the reasons for termination in a termination letter. Discuss how the final paycheck and similar matters will be handled. Give the employee a chance to ask questions, but be careful that any answers don’t point to any factors that might be marked as wrongful termination. This includes things like making retaliatory or discriminatory comments .
Some terminations aren’t due to the employee’s actions. When this happens or if the employee was a good employee who would be an asset to a different company, let the person know about what your company will provide regarding a referral or recommendation for future employment.
What can you do if an employee makes a wrongful termination claim?
If there’s a claim made against your company for wrongful termination, it’s best to discuss the situation with your attorney so you can know your options. The decisions you make can make or break your business, so try to make the proper ones.