You cannot run a successful business alone. It is essential to get employees with the right skill sets to handle various tasks. In some cases, workers are considered “at-will” and have no written contract. This means you can terminate their employment for one reason or another at any time.
On the other hand, an “at-will” employee can quit at whim. There nonetheless exists several legal guidelines on the termination of this employee that most employers either disregard or have no idea of. Whether you need a commercial, estate or family lawyer here in Denver, there is now a one-stop firm that will cater to your needs.
The commercial lawyer in this firm will guide you on the steps that will minimize the risk of your firm getting sued for wrongful termination of an at-will employee. Here are a few steps the lawyer might recommend for this.
Have Proper Documentation
You should document all your interactions with an employee in relation to his/her job progress, evaluations and disciplinary actions. This will prove a strong defense to your case if an employee files a wrongful termination claim against you in the future.
The documentation will prove that you did not act on the spur of the moment while firing him/her, and you took all the necessary steps to warn the employee of the same.
Set Clear Procedures and Policies
When starting a business, there are various guidelines you will have in place for handling different elements. One of these is your employment policy. This should be drafted under an attorney’s guidance to guarantee you are not contravening any legal restrictions.
Ensure your managers and employees understand the procedures and policies you have in place and that they are enforceable. Moreover, these policies should be enforced equally since having policies targeting specific employees will strengthen their lawsuit against you.
The fundamental elements addresses in employment policy and procedures include termination policies, standards of conduct, and disciplinary procedures.
One of the most expensive wrongful dismissal cases is that involving an employee with a protected status like religion, race, or gender. If you have to fire this employee, consider replacing him/her with someone from the same protected class.
This way, if the worker brings a discrimination case against you based on his/her status, the courts will dismiss it as the replacement is from the same class. This proves that the termination was not discriminatory.
Centralized Decision Making
Having one decision maker for the hiring and firing of employees also mitigates wrongful discrimination claims. If the same person who fires an employee is the same one that hired him/her, courts might dismiss a wrongful termination suit on the “same actor doctrine.”
This is based on a rationale that someone cannot suddenly have an aversion to the same person he/she hired.
Without a contract, employers assume they can hire and fire at-will employees anyhow. This has caused large and small businesses to incur losses in legal fines from wrongful termination claims since these employees still have legal backing.
With the above guidelines and a good defense lawyer, however, you can negate the risk of running these losses in your business.