Even though you can’t do anything about the post-termination emotions that your employees will feel after you terminate them from the job, you can, however, hopefully prevent a former employee from doing post-termination actions like filing for a wrongful termination suit against you, by following certain procedures.
Know what causes an employee to file a wrongful terminal lawsuit against you.
Any employee will have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit against you if they think that they were fired from the job without any good reason. So it is essential that you, as the employer, know what kind of termination actions that may lead your disgruntled employee to file a suit against you.
- If you fired an employee in violation of the state or federal anti-discrimination laws.
- If the employee thinks that the termination was a form of sexual harassment.
- If you fired an employee in violation of the employment agreement.
- If you fired an employee in violation of the labor laws.
- If you fired an employee as retaliation for the complaint or claim he/she has made against you.
Some of these reasons may subject an employer to statutory penalties, while others will require an employer to provide back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, and other relief.
Know the state and federal laws regarding wrongful termination
Knowing the state and federal laws concerning wrongful termination is an important procedure in preventing wrongful termination lawsuits against you. Wrongful termination laws differ from-to-state and it’s your job to know the employment rules and regulations based on where you live.
Establish a termination policy for your employees.
You need to create or establish a termination policy before you start hiring employees.
- Create a written termination policy and make it known to your employees before you hire them.
- State in there the procedures that you will follow if there comes a time that you are going to let go of an employee.
- Make sure to cite situations that could result in immediate termination of an employee such as sexual harassment and threatening behavior.
Keep detailed accounts of your employees.
You also need to keep detailed accounts of all your employee’s disciplinary actions and performance and make your employee acknowledge that you are taking into account his/her behavior performance at work. Letting your employee know that you are meticulously monitoring his/her behavior and performance will most likely prevent them from filing a lawsuit against you if you terminate him or her later on.
Terminate an employee after careful consideration.
You must only terminate an employee after careful consideration. Don’t terminate an employee without exhausting all measures you can think of to get him/her back on track.
- If your employee has made an offense, you can issue him/her with a written or verbal warning.
- In addition to that, make an improvement plan for your employee.
- Give your employee ample time, resources, and proper training to get him/her on track.
If all of these are not enough to bring your employee up to speed, termination is your final option.
Don’t sign any contracts with your employees.
You should never sign any contracts with your employees. The only agreement that you must have with your employees is that “an employer or an employee can dissolve the employment relationship at any time for any reason”.
- Contractual employment can lock you into a fixed relationship with an employee that can be difficult to dismiss even if you wanted to let that worker go.
- Also, unhappy employees who are under contract can sue you if they think that their contract has been breached or violated.
Give an employee a probationary period before terminating them.
Probationary periods can do a lot in preventing wrongful termination lawsuits after you fire an employee. Let your employee know that he/she is under probationary employment status.
- It will be easier for you to fire an employee who is on probation.
- When an employee knows that he/she is on probation, the employee knows that his/her employment status is in danger because things are not going too well.
- Also, employees who know that they are on probation often leave the job on their own accord.
Having to terminate an employee is never easy. It’s a decision that will leave a big impact on an employee’s personal and professional life. So as an employer, you must be serious about terminating someone from the job. Terminations are an important conversation and should not be taken lightly; it’s one of your jobs as an employer.
Just don’t fire an employee without any good reason or illegally, as it can lead to wrongful termination suits. Wrongful termination lawsuits can prove to be dangerous for your business, and you’ll never want to face the consequences that come with it.
So the next time that you fire an employee be sure to do it legally. Or, better yet have legal counsel on your side every time you terminate an employee to make it as legal as possible.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information on how to avoid wrongful termination lawsuits. For real legal advice in this matter, kindly refer to a qualified attorney.
Nicole Ferrel has spent more than two decades writing about law, and continues to do so writing on her next big thing. She imparts words of wisdom to the common reader with her pieces. Nicole is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.