Did you miss our employee exit webinar? We hate that, but we aren’t holding it against you. Instead, we’ve pulled together the top takeaways every employer needs to know, understand and implement about the employee exit process. Whether it’s a termination, resignation or job elimination, letting employees go is never an easy process. Use these insights to avoid the sticky personnel issues of employee exits:
Termination is always an option, but it requires careful thought.
Employees can be terminated for any reason or for no reason, but the right to terminate has a catch. Employers are not allowed to terminate employees for unlawful reasons. But what exactly qualifies as an unlawful termination.
- Terminating based on a protective class (race, age, religion).
- Terminating based on retaliation. And if you’re thinking through what qualifies as retaliation, it would be firing an employee because of a complaint regarding wage payment or safety issues.
The burden of proof will always fall on the shoulders of the employer.
That’s where clear and detailed documentation becomes vitally important. Without documentation, employers have no backing to prove motive and reasoning. So, what do you need to remember to keep your business safe? You can fire for no reason, but you can also fire for the wrong reason. If you don’t document the process that led to termination, you give remove for employees to go after you (and your business). Your strongest defense will hinge on the documentation you’ve kept.
When it comes to documentation, there’s best practices all businesses should employ:
- Consistent documentation practices.
- Employee signatures.
- Updated personnel files.
The conversation that comes with a termination is never going to be enjoyable. Use these tips to improve the discussion:
- Keep it brief.
- Have another management-level witness in the room and document the termination conversation.
- Shutdown all access to company-owned technology prior to the termination meeting.
- Collect all company-owned property and think through the assets that are imperative for an employee to return.
Before you decide to eliminate a position (and therefore eliminate an employee) ask yourself these questions:
- Is there an established business reason to eliminate?
- Has the reason been documented?
- Has an evaluation been conducted to determine whether or not there are grounds for a potential legal claim?
- Has a decision been made about providing severance pay?