Part of being a business owner is hiring and firing employees. While this task is often dreaded and is never easy, terminating an employee often comes from good reason. With that in mind, it’s important to let employees go lawfully to avoid accumulating additional risk and litigation. Whether the termination stems from a lack of performance, spotty attendance, or fraudulent behavior, there is a right way to go about the process. As we explore the best practices for employee termination, ensure your clients are protected by an iron-clad EPLI policy.
To start, employers need to gather their defenses and reasons for firing the employee – this is where an employee contract comes into play. Employers must prove that the employee breached the contract and that proper disciplinary and corrective action was taken prior to terminating the employee. All of these instances need to be recorded in writing and signed by both parties. In the event the employee files a suit against the employer, this paper trail will prevent them from being sued for discrimination. In addition, employers should not discuss the termination or details about the decision with other members of the team.
Another way to reduce employment practices claims is to remain consistent. Across the board, employees of all ranks need to be disciplined in the same fashion. Inside Counsel states that, fundamentally, this analysis requires an employer to have established policies and procedures that reflect current legal requirements, and to have trained its managers and human resources professionals on the application of those policies. When all of management and human resources are consistent, it makes enforcing policies much simpler.
Lastly, a severance package can be offered to terminated employees as a means to diminish their ability to sue. However, these packages are heavily regulated by the EEOC, so legal counsel should be sought prior to implementing a severance deal.
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At Genesee General, we are dedicated to providing the custom-tailored solutions your business needs to thrive. For 34 years, we have continued to provide quality and affordable insurance policies including professional liability, employment practices, cyber liability, and more. For more information, contact us today at (800) 282-8755.