In this day and age, if someone feels they have been the victim of wrongdoing, their first inclination is to sue. In the workplace, an employee who has been fired may file a wrongful termination claim against the employer. Even if the employer had a just reason for letting the employee go, they’ll need to be able to prove this rationale in court.
There are certain measures an employer can take to demonstrate transparency over the course of their worker’s employment. Following these steps can help to clear up a legal issue more quickly and can even help to prevent a lawsuit altogether:
- Keep good records. Keep records of any training or employee handbooks you provided regarding company policies and expectations. If your employee is regularly tardy, develop a system to accurately track their working hours. Keep a log—including dates—of any disciplinary action. In addition, record continued poor performance or bad behavior thereafter to build a case for the firing. It’s also worthwhile to keep any communications with the employee—or their supervisor—that are relevant to the termination decision.
- Show that your discipline is consistent. If you fire someone because they disobeyed a company policy, for instance, it’s also a good idea to show that colleagues and supervisors who are still employed at the company are not guilty of the same offense.
- Provide a reason for the firing. This may sound obvious, and it can be tempting to assume that an employee knows there’s a problem with their performance and sees their termination coming. However, many employees in the workforce believe they do excellent work. If you don’t give them a specific reason to think otherwise, they can jump to conclusions about unfair or illegal reasons for their firing.
While employment lawsuits aren’t completely preventable, having a comprehensive game plan in place to address a possible lawsuit can save you a lot of stress and aggravation in the long run.