Preventing Wrongful Termination Suits - Hackstaff, Snow, Atkinson & Griess, LLC

Preventing Wrongful Termination Suits

preventing wrongful termination

The decision to fire an employee is not one you should arrive at haphazardly. Termination is an issue that affects every business sooner or later. In every case, it must be handled with the proper care and attention to mitigate the risk of a wrongful termination claim. 

Why Litigation Is Something to Avoid 

Winning a wrongful termination lawsuit is not the ideal ending when you decide you need to let an employee go. Yes, winning a wrongful termination lawsuit is better than losing one, but it’s worse than never having to go to court at all.  

Litigation is expensive and contains an element of risk, even when you are in the right. Preventing those suits from arising in the first place is by far the best path for your business. 

Why Do People Sue for Wrongful Termination? 

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to wrongful termination suits. Several elements make these lawsuits more likely, however: 

  • An employee who is surprised or shocked by their termination may be more likely to sue.  
  • Employees who feel that they were treated unfairly or punished for asserting their rights or doing the right thing are also likely to seek a legal solution.  
  • Workers who generally felt mistreated at their place of employment may carry those feelings over when they are let go. 

Preventing These Issues 

When it comes to surprise, the key is to let employees know exactly what is expected of them. When work expectations are clearly outlined and tracked, employees understand when they fall short. They may have reasons or excuses for falling short, but they know where they stand. Documenting the failure of a worker to meet expectations over time can aid in preventing wrongful termination lawsuits. 

Attitude can also go a long way to preventing legal action by a fired employee. Being fired is embarrassing, stressful, and generally very unpleasant. Therefore, handling the situation with compassion and tact is vital. Even as they are let go, employees who are treated with respect may be less likely to pursue litigation. 

Retaliation is an issue that may arise when letting an employee go. If that employee has made claims regarding workplace harassment, discrimination, or other violations of employment law, litigation is more likely.  

You may still decide to terminate the employee, but in these cases, it is vital to thoroughly document the reasons for the termination, as well as the company’s response to the original allegations. It is best to consult with an attorney to make sure you have followed applicable law. 

An Ounce of Prevention 

Having clear policies regarding workplace conduct is important. You may also consider liability insurance to help defray the cost of litigation, should it arise. If your management team is properly trained in how to deal with employment conflicts, you can avoid many of the pitfalls that lead to wrongful termination claims. 

Contact Us to Discuss Your Legal Needs 

Hackstaff Snow Atkinson & Griess, LLC provides strong, experienced counsel to businesses regarding labor and employment law. Our attorneys have the experience to assist you in creating effective policies and responding to situations regarding termination. Reach out to our legal team to schedule a consultation.