For managers in this litigious environment, the most challenging events occur when terminating employees.
Just one error by management can ignite a costly lawsuit.
Unfortunately, there are numerous opportunities for errors – such as mistakes in making statements, implementing personal improvement plans, or in documentation.
Not to mention in some cases, terminated employees “going postal” or become violent, and resulting teamwork and morale issues.
So due diligence is required to justify firing an employee. This means you must prepare for several possible discrimination scenarios to overcome before starting the termination process.
Do your homework to successfully avoid a termination lawsuit over possible claims of discrimination as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
For example, consider:
1. Is the employee a whistle-blower?
2. Are you vulnerable legally if the employee can accuse you of discrimination (for reasons of ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference or others such as family medical leave).
3. Is the employee injured or has file a workers’ compensation claim?
4. Is the employee disabled?
5. Is the employee over age 40?
6. Has the employee been involved in a sexual harassment dispute?
You must be able to adequately justify a termination.
Note: You have to be able to document reasons for your record-keeping – not necessarily the reason for a termination – when you terminate an employee – not later.
From the Coach’s Corner, additional HR tips:
Avoid Nightmarish Trend: Discrimination Suits, an EEOC Dragnet – News headlines from Seattle to New York are cause for some serious head-slapping when it comes to management of employees — EEOC discrimination lawsuits are seemingly everywhere. Here’s how to avoid HR nightmares with the EEOC.
10 Tips on Responding to EEOC Complaints – If your company is hit with an EEOC complaint, here’s what to do.
Avoid EEOC Legal Hassles over Unpaid Leave Requirements – You might want to review your current human resource policies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has continued to push employers on unpaid leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Human Resources Tips – Checklist to Prevent Legal Issues – To be successful in management or as a human resources professional, you know the importance of staying current in possible legal issues.
If it’s Necessary to Fire Employee on FMLA, Here’s How … – Despite what might you have been told, you can discharge an employee while on leave for cause under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If you feel you must terminate such an employee, here are the guidelines.
“Be transparent about why the termination is happening. If you did things right, it shouldn’t be a surprise to the person.”