A Trusted Small Business Working To Protect Your Professional Practice And Your Business

Firing a problem worker without facing an employment lawsuit

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2023 | Employment Law

Workers usually try to put their best foot forward during interviews. They may exaggerate their experience or downplay the conflicts that may have occurred at their last place of employment. It is only after someone starts working at a company that management may realize that they made the wrong decision.

Workers with toxic personality traits or a poor work ethic can do a lot of damage to an otherwise successful company. They can damage the morale of other workers, harm the company’s reputation with customers and make everyone feel as though they must walk on pins and needles during their shifts.

Management may worry that terminating a highly-contentious and difficult employee will worsen the situation by triggering an employment lawsuit. How can a business get rid of a problem employee without putting itself at risk of a lawsuit?

Gather sufficient documentation

Does a worker constantly make negative statements about their job or defamatory claims about the company? The more records management has of their hostile speech patterns, the better. Retaining in-depth records of how one worker starts arguments with others, bad mouths the business, makes customers uncomfortable or fails to abide by company policy will make it easier to justify the decision to let that worker go in the future.

Has there been a verifiable reduction in gratuities or overall sales when one person is on the schedule? Documentation of not just the worker’s bad attitude or poor performance but also the impact that it has on the company, other employees and customers will make it much easier to justify the decision to let a worker go because of their bad attitude.

Make use of performance reviews and discipline policies

Many companies have progressive discipline policies that allow for write-ups and a variety of penalties for workplace infractions. Other businesses try to incentivize workers into better job performance by offering regular reviews of how they do their jobs and feedback so that they can improve. Both performance reviews showing that a worker is not meeting company standards and disciplinary write-ups affirming that they have violated company policies and go a long way toward helping refute claims that the company did something inappropriate by terminating a problem employee.

Communicating with management team members and those in human resources will often play a key role in minimizing the risk generated by the decision to let go of a particular employee because of their conduct or attitude. Seeking legal guidance as proactively as possible can be important when seeking to mitigate liability risks as well.

RSS Feed

FindLaw Network