Anytime a company needs to let a worker go, the possibility of conflict looms large. Even someone who dislikes their job and does not turn out their best work for a company will likely become angry over the unexpected inconvenience of losing their position.
Sometimes, workers will take legal action against a former employer, claiming that they endured a wrongful termination. When workers can convince the courts that an employer violated California state employment laws and/or federal regulations, possibly through discrimination or retaliation, they could demand their old job back and/or possibly obtain financial compensation via a lawsuit.
Such lawsuits can be very expensive and can lead to operational disruptions and reputation damage. As a result, employers generally benefit from taking certain steps to reduce the likelihood of workers claiming that their termination was wrongful.
Have clear expectations for workers
Employment contracts and worker handbooks are both places for employers to explore what they expect from their employees. The more thorough a company is about what someone’s job entails and how the company will assess their job performance, the less likely a worker will be to feel blindsided when they face disciplinary action, possibly including termination. Proper training is also key for ensuring that workers know what a company expects from them.
Maintain thorough company records
The more documentation a company has of how a worker has failed to meet certain standards, the easier it will be to hold that worker accountable in the future. Regular performance reviews and also records of any disciplinary efforts can help substantiate a company’s claims that it terminated a worker for a justifiable cause rather than an act of retaliation or discrimination.
Provide proper training for management and human resources
Finally, it is of the utmost importance that those in human resources or management positions know how to handle high-conflict scenarios appropriately. Wording things the wrong way or making inappropriate accusations against employees might exacerbate an already fraught situation and increase the likelihood of litigation later.
Companies that carefully adhere to best practices when hiring, training, disciplining and terminating workers can reduce their chances of expensive wrongful termination litigation that could harm their reputations in addition to costing them money.