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Avoiding wrongful termination

Stay away from wrongful termination issues with some simple tips.

It’s something every employer faces—a poor or underperforming employee. While it’s unfortunate an employment situation reached this point, it does happen. But there are things you have to do before you can take action. The biggest one—documenting your case. Here are some tips to help:

  • Set the rules: Hopefully, you already have a set of written employment rules as well as termination guidelines. Review them to make sure they’re up to date, or work with an attorney to develop new ones.
  • Educate your managers: You and your management staff need to know and understand the guidelines that are set. Schedule training to explain the documentation and counseling requirements. Keep track of that training.
  • Educate the employee: Talk with the worker as soon as possible. Let them know what the problem is and what they specifically need to do to improve their performance and avoid being fired. Be sure to clearly document the discussion—including the issue and the proposed solution.
  • Organize the paperwork: If things don’t improve and you have to dismiss the employee, go back to your documents. Check them carefully to make sure the reasons for the termination are clear and supported. If there’s conflicting information, investigate it before taking action.

Something else to keep in mind: If a hot-button issue like age, race, or gender could come into play, be sure to have an attorney who specializes in employment law look over your case to avoid any issues.

It’s important to have these formal guidelines in place so that you can address any employee performance problems or terminations. Without the rules and the record keeping they require, you may be justified in firing someone—but unable to support it if the employee chooses to challenge your decision.

You should review your employment guidelines with a qualified attorney who can help with this or any other employment issue.

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