How to Avoid Legal Problems when Terminating an Employee

Terminating an EmployeeEmployers in the private sector may have to terminate their workers sometimes, mainly for reasons such as poor performance, negligence of duty, or even an act of dishonesty. However, the process is not that easy now, as workers are more aware of their rights under the law. If terminated for any illegal reasons, they’re more likely to seek the advice of an attorney to file a lawsuit against the employer. Employment and labor law firms specialized in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters can assist them to claim their rights. Litigation in this regard involves termination meetings and proceedings, recordings of various legal processes and their transcription typically supported by transcription outsourcing companies. Several reports indicate that in the United States, many lawsuits arise between workers and their employers when an employee is fired.

Consider these tips when terminating an employee-

  • Make sure you have legal reasons to fire the worker

    In almost every state in the U.S., the generally-accepted doctrine is employment-at-will, which means the employee can quit at any time for any reason, and the employer can fire the employee at any time for any reason. However, the reason for termination should be legal. The Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit employers from terminating an individual because of physical characteristics, ethnic background or spiritual beliefs. Termination of employees such as a woman, an African American, or a disabled worker who are protected by a federal or state employment law requires special consideration. When dealing with such an employee, it is critical that the termination decision is reviewed by a senior manager to ensure that the decision is appropriate and fair.

    Also, before moving to the final step, make sure to read and implement all the steps in your company’s human resources guide to rectify the situation and avoid termination.

    Countries like France that have implied contracts limit the employer’s ability to terminate an employee without cause.

  • Focus on documentation

    Lack of appropriate documentation will make it difficult to defend employment-related lawsuits that stem from the discharge of the worker. For instance, if you are removing the employee for poor job performance, ask your supervisors to thoroughly and honestly evaluate the job performance of the employee and document it. If the employee files a lawsuit claiming that discrimination rather than poor work performance motivated the employer to terminate the worker, this job evaluation done by the employer becomes critical to the issues in the case. The documentation underlying the performance evaluation should be dated and signed by the supervisor performing the evaluation. Also, require the employee to sign the performance evaluation form.Avoid Legal Problems when Terminating an Employee

  • Exit interview

    Terminations that are conducted in a respectful manner may reduce the potential for litigation. According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, the employers are required to provide documentation about the number of employees affected, give an anticipated layoff date and share contact information for retraining and for temporary unemployment benefits.

    Once decided, make sure to notify the employee of the termination decision in person. The termination decision must be communicated in a professional manner to the employee during the exit interview. Other representatives of the management must also be present during this session, to convey the decision and to witness it. It is also important to maintain proper documentation of any discussions regarding the termination.

Employment attorneys dealing with such wrong termination lawsuits can maintain updated documents and reports with the assistance of a professional legal transcription outsourcing company. With transcripts of all relevant recordings available, attorneys can focus on preparing their case without the distraction the various documentation requirements may bring.

About MOS Legal Transcription Service

Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, MOS Legal Transcription Service is a legal transcription company providing quality legal transcription services for lawyers, attorneys, law firms, law companies, paralegals, and other legal professionals across the US.