Unless your last name is Trump, terminating employees is probably one of the least enjoyable parts of operating a business.
Most employers have pretty good reasons to terminate an employee and don’t do this unless the situation is close to hopeless. It is perfectly legal to fire an employee for a lot of reasons including:
- Poor job performance
- Refusing to follow instructions
- Tardiness (my pet peeve!)
- Dangerous behavior
And sometimes, business necessity requires laying off staff, which is also consider an employee termination.
Most managers will have to terminate an employee at some point. If they don’t handle this properly, it can result in expensive litigation against the employer for wrongful termination. Don’t make the mistake as treating this as an idle threat to your businesses.
Things to Remember When Terminating Employees
Your top priority is to protect your business when you terminate employees for any reason.
It’s very important to follow proper and uniform procedures if you have to terminate employees.
- Your first priority is to protect your business from potential litigation arising from an employee termination.
- Careful planning can limit misunderstandings, anger and accusations.
- Keeping the process calm can help soften the blow to employees, particularly if the termination is due to a layoff they didn’t see coming.
- Many will be surprised; virtually all will be upset.
- Have a witness present when you deliver the news to the employee.
- Make sure you have documented the performance of any employees you are actually firing. A termination for poor performance should never be a surprise.
- Keep in mind that an employee who is sincerely surprised by his termination may conclude that something other than performance – such as age, sex, religion or disability – is the real reason he was fired.
- Informing employees about poor performance through written warnings and other, relevant communications about their deficiencies helps protect your company from a wrongful termination claim.
None of this doesn’t mean an employee won’t disagree with a termination. But an employer who has addressed problems with employees in the past and carefully documented failure to improve has left a paper trail for a lawful job termination that protects the business from wrongful termination claims.
Employee Termination is a Tricky and Delicate Process
Employee termination can be complicated regardless of the cause, including a layoff.
Employees who feel they have been treated unfairly in the termination process can become a big liability and costly headache to your company. A little professionalism and planning for any termination possibility can make the most uncomfortable one easier and legally compliant later. Arizona business owners should get legal advice from an Arizona employment attorney on the procedures to take when terminating an employee.
We would be happy to assist you with this. Contact my law office today to schedule a consultation.