There is no way to avoid it – every employer will have to face the unpleasant task of terminating an employee at some point in their career. These experiences are uncomfortable enough on their own, but the threat of a wrongful termination lawsuit is even more uncomfortable, and far more expensive. In this article, we will discuss the do’s of termination, and how to avoid pitfalls that lead to wrongful termination lawsuits.
1. DO keep documentation. It is always a good idea to provide regular employee performance reviews and give your employees clear and honest feedback in a timely manner. This gives your employees a chance to improve, as well as providing you, the employer, with a written record of where each employee is when it comes to meeting the company established goals. Of course, in order to do this each company must spend some time to establish goals. This both goals for the company, and goals for each team of employees in the company. You must also develop a way for employees to be held accountable for reaching and maintaining said goals. One such tool is performance evaluations; this will be discussed later in the article.
2. DO have a professionally written Employee Handbook. Your business should have a written handbook that outlines human resource guidelines and policies. It should include the company’s process of termination, as well as indicate what company expectations are. Every employee should be required to read and sign an acknowledgement of the policies outlined in the handbook, indicating their receipt. If the policy isn’t in writing, it will be difficult to provide defend it in a courtroom. In the absence of written policies, your day to day actions become the company’s policies.
3. DO approach every termination thoughtfully. It is ideal to part ways with an employee on cordial terms, if possible, although that is not always an option. In the actual discussion of termination, be both frank and professional, but know that a little compassion can go a long way. Provide severance if possible, which may release you from future legal claims. It can be a good business investment to pay forward a little money that is not required by law, rather than pay a boatload of money later.
4. DO enlist the services of a good Compliance Coach. They can help you to navigate the many and varied complex list of California Labor Laws. Even though this will be an initial investment, it could save you lots of headaches and costs in the future. Following these guidelines will help you and your company avoid the threats of litigation and provide you with peace of mind when handling an employee termination. Protect yourself by being prepared and well-informed, and avoid the distress of wrongful termination lawsuits
Should you have any questions feel free to call or email us. Protecting employer’s rights is our passion and we are very good at it. Call today and schedule your free consultation.