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How to avoid claims or disputes when firing an employee

In an at-will state like California, an employer should be able to fire an employee anytime and for any reason. However, the Labor Commissioner’s Office has more than 45 laws against discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Employees can use these laws to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit, even when their employer terminates them due to a fair and honest cause.

Employers should not have to tolerate employees with poor work performance. They should know how to protect themselves when taking any adverse action against an employee. Below are preventive measures every employer should consider.

Employers can set company goals and policies

A company will only be successful when employees, management, supervisors and even employers fulfill their duties adequately and competently. Employers should establish goals and policies that allow employees to know what the company expects from them. The company policies will also hold them to a standard. They should work to achieve those goals while complying with company policy.

Employers can conduct regular performance reviews

Employers can use performance reviews to inform employees when they are not meeting the company’s expectations. Employees who know they are not doing well at work will understand why the employer is terminating them. The termination becomes fact-based instead of wrongful.

Employers can keep records and proper documentation

Employers should have systems in place designed to monitor employee productivity and behavior. They can use performance reviews, attendance records and time tracking sheets as proof for firing a company for just cause. An employer can present these records to employees when disciplining or terminating them. It can also be helpful to keep records to use as evidence if employees decide to pursue a lawsuit.

Employers can consider terminating with empathy

It would be best to talk to employees with compassion when firing them. Losing a job can be hard on anyone. Avoid adding insult to injury by demeaning or humiliating the employee. Instead, employers should consider using a hopeful and empathetic tone. Let your employee know why they are not fit for the job but that they can have a fruitful future elsewhere. If they react violently or in spite, do not engage.

When deciding to terminate an employee, always keep the company’s best interest in mind and avoid letting things get personal. Terminating an employee in good faith is not illegal but ensure you can support your reasons.