Avoiding Wrongful Termination Lawsuits

In July 13, 2017


Wrongful termination lawsuits are an employer’s worst nightmare — not only does losing an employee in the first place cost your company time and money, but dealing with a lawsuit can drain your resources, damage your resources, and harm employee morale. That’s why it should go without saying that it’s in your best interest to be proactive and avoid wrongful termination suits from the very beginning. Here are a few steps that you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing this unfortunate situation:


  • Hire wisely. Proper recruiting and hiring practices will help reduce the risk of a wrongful termination suit by reducing the odds that you will need to terminate anyone at all. Proper screening, a standardized hiring process, and the ability to choose from a large pool of potential employees allow you to choose a strong candidate who can grow with the company and possibly even stay with you for years.
  • Set clear expectations. A large percentage of firings and terminations are caused, at least in part, by bad communication. If you are clear about your expectations as an employer from the get go, your new hires will be more likely to meet those expectations.
  • Issue official warnings. Is an employee breaking the rules, causing discord, or failing to complete all their duties? Issue them a warning and document all the details —the date, the employee’s name, and the reason you are writing them up. This gives your employee a chance to improve while also protecting your right to fire them if they fail to improve.
  • Handle termination carefully. Termination can be a stressful and emotionally loaded moment for both parties, so be sure to handle it professionally. Tell your employee that they are being terminated and offer your explanation, but don’t allow yourself to sink to insults or to make promises that you cannot keep.
  • Help your ex-employees find work. Employees who find new work quickly are less likely to file a suit. Also, lending ex-employees a helping hand helps improve your reputation as an employer. So unless your ex-employee was terminated for truly egregious reasons (workplace theft or violence, for example), try to help them get back on their feet.


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