Preventing Wrongful Dismissal Lawsuits: Doing Your Due Diligence During Termination

preventing wrongful dismissal lawsuits

As much as we like to think of the positives of building our company by hiring and adding to our team, sometimes, the unfortunate reality is that you need to remove an employee that is no longer a good fit with your organization. While terminating employees is an unpleasant part of business, it is an inevitability that most employers will have to eventually face. Whether you’re firing with cause, or, in rarer cases, without cause you need to ensure you that you conduct terminations correctly to protect both yourself and the employee in question. Wrongful dismissal lawsuits can be extremely detrimental to your business and, even with the best-case outcome, you’ll still suffer some repercussions to your reputation and potentially even team morale. To help protect you from potential lawsuits, Pivot HR has compiled a shortlist of best practices to keep in mind when you need to terminate an employee. Read on to learn more!

What Leads to Wrongful Dismissal Lawsuits?

It’s no secret that firing an employee is a tricky experience for a number of reasons. Besides being unpleasant, finding the right way to conduct a termination can be difficult depending on the circumstances at hand. While there’s no surefire way to avoid a lawsuit, taking the time to create a refined, respectful process can help reduce the chance of disgruntled employees filing a suit and protect you in the long run. By having a plan in place and partnering with a skilled HR team, you can drastically reduce the risk of legal troubles and, most importantly, ensure that everyone feels heard and valued, even when going separate ways.

So, how do you protect yourself when firing an employee?

Document, Document, Document!

Having clear, detailed, documentation is one of your best allies when it comes to protecting your organization from a lawsuit. Not only will you want to have all information on file pertaining to why you’ve decided to part ways with an employee, you’ll also want to show how you’ve given them opportunities to improve and partnered with them to create a plan for success. Finally, you’ll want to have documentation that records how the termination was conducted, who was present, and what was agreed upon in the terms of separation.

Only Involve Necessary People

Drama and gossips are one of the worst ways to create major problems within your team, especially where terminations are considered. Make sure that the only people present are those who are necessary, and that once the employee has been terminated, any information shared with the former employee’s coworkers is limited to essentials. Never disclose the reason for termination to someone who has no direct involvement, and actively discourage team members from prying for further information. Not only is this immensely disrespectful, but should word spread to the dismissed party, you could find yourself facing some major consequences.

Handle Their Exit With Grace

Even if the employee in question has become particularly disgruntled, or perhaps even openly hostile towards your organization, it’s important to keep your emotions in check through every stage of the exit process. Keep things neutral, compassionate, and objective, including when you put together a severance package (if necessary). No matter your personal feelings, treating the exiting individual with respect and dignity will go a long way to fostering as positive of a relationship as you can have in the long run and reducing your chances of a lawsuit popping up in the future.

Ask For Help

Finally, if you’re unsure of how to refine your firing process and stay on top of all current standards, etc, you’ll want to reach out for help ASAP. Partnering with a skilled HR consultancy like Pivot can help answer your questions and provide you with a clear path forward that leaves everyone feeling happy and secure.

For more information on avoiding wrongful dismissal lawsuits and hiring/firing best practices, contact our team today!

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