Parting ways with your employee is never easy. Beyond the emotional stress associated with firing your employee, employers and/or managers are always faced with severe legal consequences if the termination isn’t handled properly. Although employers are free to fire, hire, or suspend any member of their staff at will, things can get worse if the employee discovers that he/she was fired on retaliatory or discriminatory grounds.
A wrongful dismissal lawsuit could make the whole issue even worse. Keep in mind that even if you have done nothing wrong, a fired employee can still file a wrongful termination lawsuit against you, which can be costly since you will spend a lot of money on a legal advisor and you won't have time to run your business.
Here are three tips to help you avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit if you wish to end your employment relationship with one or more of your employees.
1. Avoid Escalating the Issue
Employee dismissal can be an emotional and stressful time for the employer. It’s exasperating when you have to part ways with one of your employees due to various reasons. However, you need to keep in mind that you aren’t the only one who is feeling down.
The worker feels much worse than the way you feel, and when emotions are too high, countless lawsuits are most likely to be filed. That is why no matter how bad you may feel about the situation, try to contain it and stay calm. Keeping your emotions and feelings out of the termination conversation can save you a lot.
2. Document Everything
Make sure that you maintain employee files for each worker that should include job evaluations and any other documents that show the employee's performance in the workplace. You can seek the services of small business legal services to help you maintain such records. Some of the best practices include performing regular employee evaluations to ensure employee expectations are met and to appreciate the good work from your workers.
Such documentation can help you justify your decision to fire the employee on the grounds of poor performance, and the records may stop the individual from filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against you. If the employee does file a lawsuit against you, then documents that show warnings and job performance will assist you win the suit easily.
3. Offer to Help the Employee Navigate Their Next Steps
Even when you do everything right, parting with an employee can still be messy. One of the best ways of dealing with employee termination is by creating a severance package that includes assistance navigating the challenging job market. Depending on the primary reason why you decided to dismiss the employee, your aid could be in the form of offering to help him/her update their resume or reaching out to your peer network to see who has a job opening that can fit the employee. By doing this, the employee will feel comfortable and won’t see the need to file a lawsuit against you. Engage a business lawyer in drafting your agreement.
Have you been sued for wrongful termination in Minnesota? Contact Betsy Law Firm today for small business legal services.