How to prevent a wrongful termination claim
It is understandable for a person to be upset after losing their job, yet an employer must do what is best for the company. As the employer, you cannot overlook employees who hinder the growth and success of the business simply because you do not want to hurt their feelings. However, you would not want them to have any reason to file a wrongful termination claim against you either. Here are things you can do to prevent such claims.
Establish performance objectives and expectations for employees
The decision to terminate an employee should be supported by facts. The employee should know what you expect from them. If the employee cannot meet their performance objectives, they must do something about it; otherwise, you will. As the employer, you must make them aware of their poor work performance as the reason behind any adverse action against them. You reprimand them because they are not meeting the criteria. Their constant failure to meet performance objectives is why you are terminating them. It lessens the blow of the termination.
Conduct regular performance reviews
Goal setting is not enough. You must also know how close the employee is to achieving those goals and when they are falling behind. Regular performance reviews allow employees to see what they are lacking and what needs room for improvement. While California law does not require annual performance reviews, they can serve as proof of their poor work performance and reason for termination.
Create a handbook and abide by company policy
Your company should have an employment handbook with clear grounds for termination and discipline. Each employee must have a copy, and you should ensure you have receipts that they received a copy. The employment policies and procedures outlined in your employment handbook can protect you from legal liability.
Adhere to the training requirements of your state
In California, employers of 5 or more employees should provide training on sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention. As their employer, It is your duty to ensure all the supervisors and employees receive training so that your employees know you are actively prioritizing their well-being. You are ensuring their work environment is safe and not hostile. It can also help prevent retaliation claims.
Terminate with empathy
Aside from training your employees against workplace harassment and discrimination, you also must train supervisors to communicate effectively. When responsible for the termination and discipline, they should do so with compassion and respect to avoid further discord.
An employee who knows they are just not cutting it will have no reason to file a wrongful termination claim. You must make them aware of their shortcomings, but you do not have to be mean about it.