Terminating an employee is not an easy task. Employers dread this situation because it often becomes emotional. Nobody wants to lose their job and have to deal with the stress and financial difficulties that ensue.
However, most employment is at-will, meaning that either the employee or employer can end employment at any time. This does not mean that employers can fire whomever they want for invalid reasons. For example, employees are protected against discrimination. If they have performance issues, on the other hand, and have been warned in the past, an employer can take action and fire them legally.
As an employer, if you say the wrong thing, you may be sued, making the situation worse. Here is what to say when firing someone in order to avoid legal issues.
Best Way to Terminate an Employee
When deciding to fire someone, make sure you think it through and understand the laws. You can not fire someone simply because you do not like their religious views or because they are pregnant. This is against the law and will likely result in a lawsuit.
Termination is often done when an employee has performed poorly or has broken a law. If you are firing someone for poor performance, make sure you have documentation to back it up. If someone is performing below expectations, make sure they are aware of it and given time to improve. It is important to issue warnings so the employee is not caught off guard. If things do not get better, proceed with the termination.
Firing earlier in the week is better. Firing on a Friday gives the person the weekend to get enraged. When firing a person, do it face to face. It is a good idea to have a witness present, such as another manager. Keep the conversation to the point. Tell the person they are being terminated with cause, but avoid details. Let them know when they must leave the office and inform them of any benefits you will give them, such as severance pay. Let the employee clean out his or her office and escort him or her to the door. Do not let the ex-employee hang around and say goodbyes.
Make sure the employee signs a release before leaving. This release makes it so he or she can not file a lawsuit against you at a later date. Offer an incentive to sign the release, such as an extra week of severance pay or an extra month of health benefits. After the employee leaves, reassign duties and inform staff that the employee is no longer working for the company. Do not give details.
Contact a New York Employee Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Employers often think they have the upper hand in all employment termination situations, but if a person is being fired for an invalid reason, the employee may be able to file a claim for wrongful termination.
If you believe you were terminated from your position in an unfair manner, you may be able to file a claim against your employer. The experienced New York wrongful termination lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. will determine if discrimination occurred and help you understand your options. Schedule a free consultation by calling (347) 464-8694.