Wrongful Termination: Protect Yourself Before There’s An Issue

By Team Hireology,
June 5, 2018

Note: This is a guest post from Complí, a Hireology partner that manages HR and compliance initiatives across the entire workforce. Starting with this post, expert content from Complí will be shared on the Hireology blog on a regular basis.

Wouldn’t it be great if you never had to fire anyone? No difficult conversations, no time spent searching for candidates to replace employees, no wrongful termination claims…

Just as there are a handful of colleges with 100% acceptance rates, odds are there’s some visionary company out there that’s pulled off 100% employee retention. But for the vast majority of employers, every choice to hire someone increases the likelihood that someone, at some point, will have to be let go. And let’s be honest: not everyone is suited for the position they’re employed in, and there are people who don’t have their employer’s or co-workers’ best interests at heart.

Rather than figuring out how to fire an employee a week, day, or hour before calling that person into your office, it’s a good idea to develop a methodology for handling terminations. Doing so will not only make life easier for people on all sides of the equation, but provide your organization with some protection in the event that a former employee files a wrongful termination claim.

With that in mind, I’d like to share some of Compli’s recommended practices for dealing with employee terminations in a systematic approach—starting with steps to take before there’s an issue.

Get Your Policies in Order

To develop effective, repeatable, documented termination procedures, you’ll need to start where so many workforce compliance initiatives start: your employee handbook. Make sure your employee handbook contains language that accurately reflects the terms of employment that apply to your workforce. For most employers, that means specifying at-will employment, which ensures that you don’t need to find “just cause” to terminate an employee or provide warnings first.

Get Your Procedures in Order

Your handbook talks the talk; your organizational procedures need to walk the walk. Create and document processes related to:

  • Performance evaluation
  • Disciplinary action
  • Incident management
  • Termination
  • Post-termination procedures

To ensure that these processes happen in a consistent manner (i.e. no employee receives unfair or special treatment), you will need to automate them. New to automation? Learn how Compligo, our automated workforce compliance platform, can host all your policies in one place and document discipline and termination processes as they occur.

Educate Your Managers

Policies and procedures are vital, but they don’t mean much if they’re not followed properly. Make sure managers at your organization know what kind of conduct you expect of them. In addition to everyday employee management skills, those in charge should know how to react in difficult situations, e.g. when intervening in a dispute between co-workers or disciplining a hostile employee. It probably goes without saying, but managers should also be aware of federal and state employment laws and regulations.

Educate Your Employees

Termination should rarely, if ever, come as a surprise. Make sure all members of your workforce understand the rules of your workplace, including what kinds of behaviors result in discipline or termination. Once again, your employee handbook is the ideal vehicle to communicate this information.

These four steps may help your organization reduce the chances of an employment dispute or claim, but they’re just the start. We will offer more best practices related to termination in future blog posts. If you’d like to further explore the topic of wrongful terminations, check out our recent article, “How Wrongful Termination Erodes Your Culture and Bottom Line.”

About Complí

Complí provides a cloud-based solution that manages HR and compliance programs across your workforce. Automate learning and compliance business processes in one easy-to-use system for your employees and your managers. Deliver defensible proof of compliance to your auditors and executives to keep cool, calm, and compliant.

The Hireology and Compligo platforms are now integrated and work together to help businesses manage workforce programs across the entire employee lifecycle. Through the integration, customers can easily find the best candidates, efficiently complete hiring & onboarding processes, and keep employees on track with ongoing regulatory and compliance requirements.

 

About the Author

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