The process of letting somebody go is probably one of the most dreadful parts of being an employer. It’s never fun to tell somebody that they are losing their job. Be that as it may, employee terminations are simply a part of running a business, particularly when the employer has more than just a small handful of employees. This blog will consider three things that an employer in California should consider doing whenever it becomes necessary to let someone go.
- Confirm That the Decision to Terminate is Not Based on A Reason Which is Illegal
A good way to minimize the risk of exposure to potential claims of wrongful termination is for a company to employ a system of checks and balances which prevents a single person from making decisions without the benefit of a second set of eyes reviewing that decision.
Stated differently, managers who make decisions regarding terminations should be required to explain their termination decisions and/or recommendations, as well as the basis for them.
It is not uncommon for employees to work their way up the chain of command and, over the course of many years reach middle management positions. Being a hard worker and a dedicated employee does not necessarily qualify a manager to unilaterally decide who to fire and when to fire them. Sometimes managers make decisions without considering the legal repercussions, and that, of course, can be dangerous for the employer.
For example, a manager might decide to let an employee go for attendance issues without giving any consideration to the fact that the issues are being caused by an employee’s disability or serious health condition.
Termination decisions should be reviewed before being finalized, and if the proprietor or owner of the business is equally uncertain about the propriety of the proposed termination, then he or she should consult with an employment lawyer to verify that the motivating reason for determination is not illegal. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. It is far cheaper to pay an attorney for 30 minutes of his or her time to review the proposed termination decision, instead of paying that attorney for hundreds of hours of his or her time to defend a lawsuit.
- Make Sure That the Legal Reason for the Termination is Documented
Assuming that the reason for the termination is confirmed to be an appropriate one, the employer should see to it that the basis of the termination decision is documented. For example, if the employer is contemplating termination for a lack of performance, it should make sure that these performance deficiencies are documented, in the form of a write-up a performance review, or some other form appropriate for the situation. If a “he said she said” situation can be avoided, then it should be avoided. Each trier of fact in an employment case is likely to give considerable weight to documents in existence before the termination decision, as opposed to those created after the fact.
- Consider Offering A Severance
A good way to avoid potential litigation down the road is to part ways amicably with the employee. Offering an employee a severance agreement can, in the appropriate case, provide a mechanism for parting ways amicably. Of course, her severance offer may not necessarily be the right way to go in every situation; it is something that should be considered and discussed with an experienced employment lawyer.
Contact Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. for Advice
Employers in Southern California looking for an experienced employment lawyer can turn to Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. for advice. View our testimonials and contact us today. Our site offers key insights into wrongful termination, aiding your grasp of the legalities involved. Discover your employee rights.