Every company that hires employees will eventually run into one that needs to be let go. The problem is that the problematic employee may not agree that he or she would be better off working elsewhere. In fact, the person may respond to the termination by suing your company. Claims of wrongful termination, racial bias, or any number of other things can result in years of litigation. If you lose, you may have to pay a hefty settlement - and to add insult to injury, be forced to give the person his or her job back. What can you do to avoid such disastrous situations?
Make All Job Requirements Clear Right from the Start
Put the job requirements in writing and have all new employees sign that they got their copy. Of course, you need to ensure that they actually do get that copy, as well. This way, there can be no legitimate claim that you came up with bogus "special requirements" just to get rid of an employee. Even better, it makes the requirements clear, and this will improve performance right from the start.
Encourage Your Desired Workplace Culture
Often a "toxic" employee is able to put down morale-lowering roots due to a lack of guidance on company culture. Don't wait until someone has gotten used to getting away with making snide remarks, sniping fellow workers, or other bullying behavior. Set up a performance meeting with the troublesome employee and make a written plan for remedial actions. Don't try to get the other employees to just put up with it. Allowing certain types of hostile work environments to persist can lead to successful litigation against you.
Detail All Offenses that Lead to a Firing
When an employee just isn't working out, you need to let the person go. To avoid trouble later, make detailed records of exactly what the person did (or did not) do that led to the decision to terminate employment. Good records can head off claims that your reasons were nefarious.
To learn more about how to minimize your legal risks when hiring and firing people, attorney Jake Posey and the team at The Posey Law Firm strive to assist clients in all avenues of contract and employment law.
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