While a wrongful termination suit may be inevitable, many lawsuits could be avoided or made much easier with these four tips in mind.  

1. Have open conversations about performance issues as they first appear.

         No one likes to feel blindsided by a termination. If an employee is unaware that their performance was an issue, they may begin to think they were terminated for another reason and may be more inclined to sue for wrongful termination. Set aside time to promptly address problems with your employees and always be respectful and clear.

2. Be sure to fill out regular performance reviews accurately and thoroughly.  Discuss the reviews with employees.  

         Take the time to accurately fill out performance reviews. Some supervisors may give their entire team perfect reviews and keep any corrections casual and verbal. This can make a termination that may have been a long time coming look spontaneous and questionable, inaccurately representing someone as a model employee. Because of this, it is important to be accurate in the reviews and offer employees the opportunity to discuss the reviews after receiving them.   

3. Keep documentation of workplace altercations and misconduct.

         Be sure to write down a summary of any misconduct that occurs at the workplace. Include time, date, and any relevant details. Save any complaints you may receive from other employees. You may ask employees to submit a record of events afterward as well.

4. When it comes time to terminate an employee, try to remain respectful and direct.

Provide a written letter outlining the issues and termination. Make sure that the letter is dated and includes a termination date. Ask for any company property back and have someone assist the employee in removing personal items, if needed.

The attorneys at Thompson, Crawford, Brown & Smiley have extensive experience in defending against wrongful termination claims. If you are a business owner and want to make sure you are doing all that you can to prevent a successful wrongful termination claim, call us at 850-386-5777!

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