You have very few “correct” ways to terminate an employee’s tenure at your company and many, many incorrect ways of doing it. If you want to avoid lawsuits after letting an employee go, here are a few key mistakes to avoid.

1: You don’t give a reason for firing.

Just because you’re an at-will employer doesn’t mean you can actually fire someone for any reason. Some reasons remain illegal, such as retaliation or prejudiced firing based on race, sexuality, or gender. Employees often think they’re great workers and may make up their own reason if you don’t provide one. Always give a reason for a termination!

2: You fire an employee for bad performance when the employee has positive performance reviews.

Without a paper-trail to prove the employee wasn’t performing well, the courts won’t be able to verify that your employee was actually a poor worker or suddenly declined in the quality of their work.

3: You delay internal investigations.

If an employee has submitted a complaint that demands investigation, you should finish that investigation as promptly as possible. Be fair and communicative through the entire process — if there are delays, tell the complaining employee why and how long it might take. Otherwise, they may decide to quit and drag your company to court.

4: You fail to follow your own policies.

Even with the best company rules in the world, you won’t be able to escape lawsuits if your supervisors aren’t following the rules as well. Every company needs ideal role models, but if your management team isn’t doing the job right, then it could lead to some serious legal trouble down the road.

If you believe you might run into some trouble soon, don’t hesitate to join AFEUSA and get affordable legal help for you and your business through LegalShield. For as little as $20 a month, you can get advice from an attorney on a whole range of legal issues, from business to family matters. Skip expensive hourly rates and get the legal help you need today!

Article by Charles Jackson, President of AFEUSA

Charles Jackson AFE Board