Terminating an employee is an inevitable practice observed in employment. However, termination can result in a legal battle if procedures aren’t properly in place and followed by the employer. While letting an employee go is a tough job, the fact remains that without creating an action plan and following the process correctly, facing a lawsuit is a possibility. To avoid dealing with one in the future, below are some useful procedures to prevent wrongful termination suits.
- Be clear about why you’re terminating an employee
- In most cases, employees usually resort to filing termination complaints against employers because of the presumption that they’re wrongfully terminated. In other words, they think that letting them go has been done without any good reason.
- That’s why it’s essential that you’re transparent about telling your purpose for terminating an employee. However, you should keep in mind that there should be an authorized or justifiable cause as to why you’re putting an end to their employment services.
- You should also remember that it’s your job as the employer to familiarize yourself on how some termination actions may lead to your employee filing against you.
- Know the law regarding wrongful termination
- Termination procedures don’t just happen because you say so. In fact, the process has something to do with some state and federal laws where your business operates.
- Typically, letting go of an employee may also mean knowing and understanding the law concerning wrongful terminations. By doing this, you should be able to determine what things should and shouldn’t be done to prevent dismissing an employee illegally. You can always tap the help of attorneys who have years of experience in dealing with termination suits to help you in this phase.
- It’s important to remember that some wrongful termination laws vary from state to state, which is why it’s your responsibility to be mindful of the appropriate employment rules and regulations in your state.
- Be careful with signing employment contracts with your employees
- Having contracts with your employees may expose you to being sued for wrongful termination, which is why you should be careful in signing any form of contract with them.
- Considering the complications involved in termination issues, you shouldn’t forget to stipulate in your agreement that you as the employer has reserved the right to terminate an employee anytime for a reasonable cause.
- You should also take note that employees who are under contract may sue because of the belief that you have breached the agreement.
- Create termination guidelines for your employees
- Establishing a termination policy for your employees can reduce the risk of handling wrongful termination disputes. By applying the following procedures, letting go of an employee will always be legal:
- a) Put your policy into writing and make it known to your employees.
- b) State the potential grounds for terminating an employee.
- c) Make sure that the written copies of the policy are signed and acknowledged by the employees.
- d) Keep records of employees’ performance evaluations and disciplinary measures. Conduct regular performance appraisals so that the employee will know that they’ve been thoroughly evaluated.
- e) Provide ample warnings and conduct a proper investigation for employees who violated the company policy.
- Put an employee under a probationary period
- Employees who are under the probationary period are less likely to bring legal action against you in court.
- Don’t forget to inform them of their probationary status. By doing so, it’ll be easier for them to accept the probability of being terminated after the expiration of such period.
- Know the right way of terminating an employee
- There’s no easy way of terminating an employee. In fact, it can be a stressful process especially if you don’t observe appropriate procedures. However, knowing the right steps may mean the following:
- a) Preparing to terminate the employee through documentation;
- b) Pinpointing your reasons for termination;
- c) Analyzing and studying your decision to end their employment;
- d) Holding and getting ready for a termination meeting;
- e) Politely communicating the decision;
- f) Informing and giving the employee their final pay and other employment benefits.
- Consult a licensed attorney
- Contacting a licensed attorney for a possible termination issue can be helpful. A lawyer who specializes in wrongful termination lawsuits can guide you in making difficult decisions regarding employment matters. They can also help you ensure that you terminate employees ethically and legally.
- Remember that talking to an experienced lawyer can factor into your decisions as to how you’re going to go through with terminating an employee. But as long as you consider your attorney’s legal advice, you’ll be able to avoid the problems brought about by wrongful termination suits.
Going through the whole process of termination can be both discouraging to you and your employee. It’s an unavoidable employment procedure that can adversely affect employer-employee relationships. If you don’t want to deal with the legal consequences of wrongful termination suits, it’s best to have an attorney on your side to help you in these situations.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is only considered as a general reference and not legal advice as to the legal aspects of wrongful termination suits. To get appropriate legal advice, it’s recommended that you speak to an attorney who has experience in handling termination cases such as yours.
Thalia Mott has had a decade’s worth of experience as a law writer, which she hopes to share through her works. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.