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Procedures for avoiding wrongful termination claims

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Employment Law

Businesses need to have efficient staff to achieve their goals, and it is normal to let go of employees who do not meet performance standards or who violate company policies. However, not all employee terminations end well and sometimes disgruntled individuals may feel inclined to sue their former employers for wrongful termination.

Even when employers can hire or fire employees at will, terminations have to be carried out with several considerations in mind to avoid possible legal issues. Wrongful termination can be claimed if the former employee believes they were a victim of unlawful discrimination or retaliation, which could result in costly lawsuits and damage to the company’s reputation.

Tips for minimizing the risk of wrongful termination claims

To reduce the risk of wrongful termination claims, businesses should implement clear and consistent procedures for managing employee performance and conduct, as well as for handling terminations. This includes:

  • Providing clear expectations: All employees should clearly understand their job responsibilities, performance expectations and company policies. This can be achieved through thorough job descriptions, employee handbooks and regular communication between managers and employees.
  • Consistent enforcement of policies: Companies should ensure that policies and procedures are consistently applied to all employees regardless of their position or status within the organization. This helps prevent claims of discrimination or favoritism in the event of a termination.
  • Documenting performance issues: Employers should maintain detailed records of employee performance evaluations, warnings and any disciplinary actions taken. This documentation serves as evidence that the termination was based on legitimate reasons such as poor performance or policy violations.
  • Providing a respectful termination process: Terminations should be conducted in a respectful and dignified manner, with consideration given to the employee’s feelings and privacy. Providing clear explanations for the termination and offering support services such as outplacement assistance can help mitigate negative emotions and reduce the likelihood of such claims.

In some cases, wrongful termination claims are malicious and unfounded. Legal counsel can help

in evaluating a particular situation and defending a company against such claims while also providing guidance on best practices for termination procedures moving forward.