Avoid Wrongful Terminations
For most business owners, terminating an employee is typically never an easy task. Nevertheless, terminating someone from your employ is something that needs to be done properly. If done improperly, you risk exposing your business to legal action based upon a claim for wrongful termination. Below are some practical tips you can implement to avoid wrongful terminations.
Put Policies in Place
Policies are necessary to ensure that employees are treated fairly. It serves the purpose of putting all employees on notice regarding your procedures for handling various matters. Be specific regarding the consequences for failing to follow the policies. Some problems may be quite serious and call for immediate termination, while others may be less harmful and therefore a warning is the sufficient for the first offense. Written warnings are important and should be discussed with employees before being placed in their file. Have the employee sign an acknowledgement of any reprimand that is given.
Enforce Rules Equally
Having stated policies is a good start, but merely having them isn’t enough. Once in place, policies must be enforced. This requires diligence and fairness. When rules are broken, the employee must be reprimanded, regardless of their role or status within the company. If policies are not fairly enforced, employees who believe they were not treated fairly will likely allege discrimination.
Always be prepared, and always remember that cooler heads prevail. Do not let an employee’s egregious conduct cause you to emotionally react to the situation. Instead, detach from the situation and evaluate it as if you were an outside party looking in; remember that you must follow proper procedures. If you have documented the problems with the employee you have the information necessary to back up your actions. If you skip steps in reprimanding the employee and/or terminating the employee, he or she may feel that they have been wrongfully terminated.
Keep Files Updated
Management must be trained on how to properly document employee information. Items that are placed into an employee’s file cannot be removed. The file needs to remain intact so that it provides the documentation for any future action should it become necessary. In most circumstances, it is always better to include more information rather than less information (facts, facts, and more facts). However, make certain that only properly executed information is provided.
Resolving Wrongful Terminations
If your company has been accused of a wrongful termination it is necessary to take action. You will need to gather and review the employee’s file and confirm that the termination was completed properly and justly. If the matter requires litigation, consult with a qualified attorney to assist you with the case. Schedule a consultation with the legal team at Udall Shumway to discuss your situation as soon as possible.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Wrongful Terminations, or any other commercial litigation matters, please feel free to contact Joel E. Sannes at 480.461.5307, or log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.