How to Fire Someone While Avoiding a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

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How to Fire Someone While Avoiding a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Owning a business means making tough decisions. You have to decide on things like where to house your business, what to spend your budget on, and who to hire. Sometimes, the people that you hire to help you achieve your business goals don’t work out. Maybe they aren’t as skilled as they stated on their resume. Perhaps they are not putting forth the amount of effort that you expect from your employees. Whatever the case is, you can rest assured that you will have to fire an employee at some point. Terminating an employee can be emotionally stressful and is never fun. There’s a right way to fire an employee and a wrong way. The wrong way can lead to serious legal consequences and even a wrongful termination lawsuit. Keep reading on to learn how to fire someone the right way so that you can avoid serious legal consequences.

1. Keep Documentation for Everything

Firing an employee can lead to them filing a wrongful termination lawsuit regardless of how you handle things. That’s why it’s important to keep documentation for things like employee performance reviews and written warnings about their performance. Performance evaluations should be a regular part of quarterly business practices so that your employees can keep up with their progress and shortcomings in their positions. When you fire an employee, you can refer to the documentation that provides details about why they are getting let go. This can even help you avoid having an employee file a wrongful termination suit against you.

2. Avoid Escalations

Whenever you fire someone, it can be a stressful time. Emotions typically run high when you need to let an employee go, but it’s crucial that you avoid letting things escalate. Your employee will probably be feeling worse than you do. Often times employees will lash out at their employer for firing them, either by verbal escalations or through lawsuits. The key for you as an employer is to stay calm and keep things as professional as possible. If your employee does file a wrongful termination lawsuit, you want to ensure that they can’t cite any escalations during the actual firing.

3. Help the Employee with Next Steps

It doesn’t matter if you are letting go of the worst employee you have ever had, you want to keep things professional and help them land on their feet if possible. One way to help them get started on the next chapter of their career is to offer a severance package. You can also offer to help them find a new job through your business connections or references. They will appreciate the gesture, even if they don’t accept the help. This is a classy move as an employer and can help you avoid wrongful termination lawsuits from your ex-employee.

If you are dealing with a wrongful termination lawsuit or would like legal advice for your business, reach out to Derryberry & Associates LLP today.