Running a business is more than just creating products and services that people desire and getting sales to earn great profit. It is a company owner’s responsibility to ensure that the employees are working for the position they signed up for, getting the compensation they deserve, and providing them with a sound working environment. But those are just the easy parts.
The more difficult part of the business is preventing wrongful termination when it’s time to let your people go. This is primarily because of the related claims that your company may face during these times. In other words, you can face a potential lawsuit that can disrupt your operations and stain your reputation. Find out here more about wrongful termination claims and how you can protect your company from them.
Set guidelines and expectations
The first thing that you should do is have clear and fair written guidelines illustrating the entire termination process. Such guidelines should be implemented across the whole company and must be included in your employee handbook. If you still do not have a proper handbook in place, we highly recommend talking to an employment or commercial law attorney for a consultation.
By creating transparent and clear guidelines regarding employee termination, your people will readily understand what grounds they are likely to break. On top of that, setting clear job expectations can also be helpful for your employees to gauge their performance effectively. Avoid lawsuits by providing proper disciplinary policies, infractions, position requirements, and other company rules.
Give ample warnings
Terminating an employee should never be abrupt or come as a surprise without proper procedure. This is ethically and legally wrong. Ideally, a business owner or a manager should give the person termination at least two or more weeks of notice. This provides them with enough time to search for a new job and think about their plans without too much stress. At the same time, this gives you more time to help them understand the circumstances and why termination should be done. The more the employee gets a sense of positivity with the situation, the less likely they will file for an employment claim.
Be careful with what you say
One crucial part of announcing a termination is extra careful of what you say to the employee. It is never good to attack the personality or character or even state any offers that you cannot follow through. During the tough conversation, be sure to only talk about job performance or quality of work. And if there’s one person that should be ruled by anger or anxiety, that’s you. Keep the conversation straightforward and professional from start to finish. Avoid making statements that the employee could use against you for a wrongful dismissal claim.
Document everything carefully
The best protection you can get against a wrongful termination claim is a well-documented file. The documentation should include the performance details of every employee in your company. These include early outs, lateness, improper activities and behavior, and failure to meet their targets and goals. Be sure you work with your HR staff for confirmation that the legal procedures are followed. You can also consider conducting appraisal meetings to properly assess whether any of your employee’s behavior and performance adhere to the standards of your organization.
Consider the right time.
Deciding on a constructive termination requires the right time and place. It’s obviously a bad idea to give the bad news when your employee is busy working. This can only lead to higher stress levels and potentially push them into filling employment claims. The best time is before they go home, so they wouldn’t have to think about work while processing the information.
It is best to talk to your employee in a private room and away from the rest of the team. According to experienced human resources personnel, it’s better to discuss it in private earlier in the week and at a time when the impact on your business operations is minimal.
Being accused of violating employment agreements or harassment is a huge mess you don’t want your company to face. But by following the tips listed above, you can protect your business from damaged reputation, hefty fines, or costly litigation. At the same time, don’t forget to still prioritize providing your employees with the right treatment, pay, benefits, and condition to give them more reasons not to take legal action or hold any grudges.