Has your company found itself in the midst of a wrongful termination lawsuit? Or, are you simply wondering how to navigate the dual goals of avoiding these types of lawsuits while maintaining the ability to effectively manage your workforce? Either way, it is crucial for every employer to understand employment law as it applies to unlawful discharge.
The following are a few simple steps that employers can take to help avoid claims of wrongful termination:
- Create a concrete employee code of conduct and educate employees on what behavior is and is not acceptable under the code.
- Adopt a written policy outlining specific procedures for employee termination and follow those procedures to the letter.
- Consider negotiating at-will employment contracts with your employees, rather than employment for a specific term.
- Keep a written record of all disciplinary actions and related issues in each employee’s personnel file.
- Always consider whether termination is the right action to take, or if a lesser action would accomplish the same goals while maintaining the employee relationship.
- When termination is necessary, always state specific grounds for termination and maintain a written record of the reasons in the employee’s file.
A former employee may decide to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit against even the most diligent employer. However, if you adopt and adhere to specific employment and termination policies, you can significantly decrease the chances that such a lawsuit will be successful. Whether you need help developing your employment policies or defending a wrongful termination lawsuit, a knowledgeable employment lawyer can provide you the guidance to get the job done.