Disclaimer: This article should not be treated as legal advice. It’s recommended that readers still consult legal counsel and contact a lawyer should they have any concerns regarding wrongful termination suits.
Terminating an employee isn’t something new when it comes to businesses. The radical and flexible nature of the market means businesses should be able to adjust quickly, and businesses can downsize just as they expand. This means there’s no surefire way for a business to be able to retain all employees they have, especially when we also consider that not all employees are a good fit for a company. If you’re a business owner and you’re considering terminating an employee, do make sure you have effective procedures to avoid wrongful termination suits.
According to Forbes, you may have numerous criteria when it comes to employee retention, and sometimes a company has different sets of standards when it comes to quality assurance and making sure employees perform for the benefit of the company. However, just because a company has a set of “standards” doesn’t mean an employer can haphazardly terminate an employee. Wrongful termination suits are always possible, especially if we consider the reality that not all businesses have perfect systems in place. You can, however, make sure you have effective procedures to avoid wrongful termination suits.
1. Be careful with your emotions
Remember, as a business leader, you are the bedrock of your company. Your employees play a great part in making sure the business is functioning as intended, but you’re the one they look up to as well. Being angry at executives or staff for doing something wrong might do more harm than good for your company, and it might be the groundwork for wrongful termination suits.
2. Always consider your part of the picture whenever an employee has to be terminated
Were there efficient systems in place to make sure the employee wouldn’t have been able to have poor performance? Were there training programs for the employee to take that they negligently didn’t finish, resulting in poor performance? If these systems weren’t available in the first place, then perhaps there’s also something to improve on the business structure.
- When you have to talk with an employee about firing them, make sure you do it in a clear and concise manner. Try your best to be as objective as possible and explain clearly why an employee has to be fired, and why they have not met your company’s needs, hence the decision.
3. Provide coaching and counseling
While it’s important to be clear and concise when it comes to employee performance when firing a staffer, it’s also just as important to be clear and concise when talking with employees about their performance as well. You should gauge when you should be soft-spoken, and when you should be frank towards an employee. This is most especially the case when it comes to performance that requires quick remediation; it’s best that they know what they’re doing wrong in a way that is proper and clear.
- If possible, provide documentation that could improve performance appraisals to employees. This will allow you to provide them with an accurate summary and record of an employee’s performance in a given period of time, and this can also be reviewed should an employee be considered for termination.
- These documents, especially relating to performance, should be created under a system that has been reviewed by a legal counsel and a human resources professional. This ensures that all systems in place are objective and towards the betterment of both the company and the employees.
- Aside from this documentation, try to have systems in place that offer staffers a means to be trained and coached in areas of work that could be improved. This allows the company to be a constant place of training for employees, and this ensures that the company has structures in place that let the employees work properly as there’s constant training provided for them.
4. Don’t do on-the-spot terminations, whenever possible
It might be a better idea to give a warning or notice to an employee if they’re going to be fired as this allows them to be able to make arrangements properly and find employment without jeopardizing their means of income. Remember, employees are people too, and it is empathetic of the management to inform them of their situation in advance.
- If possible, try to have a severance package available for employees that will be fired. The specifics of the package should be elaborated upon by a legal professional.
- If not a package, perhaps provide assistance when it comes to applying for another job. While these firms aren’t always readily available, you can perhaps alert other companies of potential hires from your business, and you may even hold a job fair in your place of employment.
Wrongful termination suits can be extremely hassling and stressful, not just because of the strain it gives to you as an employer, but because of the time and resources you have to spend regardless if you’re deciding to settle or take the case to court. This is why it is far more practical to instead have effective procedures in place to avoid wrongful termination suits because that way, the time and effort done to set up these systems can be a worthwhile investment.
However, do remember that you should still consult a legal professional about your potential procedures as the ones stated above are just general guidelines. This article isn’t legal advice, but rather a general piece to help you get to the right direction. Do consult a lawyer or a legal professional, especially if you’re making a major decision related to your company.
If you want to learn more about accidents in the workplace, personal injuries among your employees, and how you can better solve these to prevent lawsuits, you can visit this website.
About the Author: Vicki Haskett
Vicki is a law writing enthusiast who’s had over 25 years of experience in her field. She enjoys sharing her experiences with those who want to learn more about the legal world. In her spare time she spends quality time with her family and friends.