Going Different Ways: Dismissing an Employee Without Getting Sued

EmployeesTerrible performance, constant tardiness, a blatant disrespect for their superiors – there are countless reasons to want to terminate someone. Problematic employees can drag everyone’s productivity down and create friction in the office. When correction is no longer possible, it is a good idea to just send them on their way.

You have probably heard stories about employers who let go of their less desirable staff only to find themselves sued for unlawful termination later. Even if you do win against such a lawsuit, it’s a time-consuming and expensive ordeal – not to mention terrible for office morale. Preventing such a scenario should be your first and highest priority.

Legally dismissing an employee may seem difficult, but it is actually quite manageable if you know which pitfalls to avoid. When in doubt, you should always get in touch with an HR consultant in Brisbane first; their expertise could save you a huge amount of trouble later.

Dismissing an Employee Correctly: A Step-by-step Process

Before anything else, make sure that the reason for dismissing an employee is valid. You cannot terminate someone as retaliation, like for reporting a company’s non-compliance with the law. Once you are sure that you have a case, here is what you should do:

1. Document everything – As with all situations that have a chance of ending in court, documentation is crucial. HumanOutsource.com.au recommends keeping organized copies of every performance review, written complaint, and other evidence of the employee’s shortcomings.

2. Stay professional – No matter how poor the employee may have acted, you should refrain from doing anything unnecessary. Keep information confidential and on a need-to-know basis; you don’t want the person to find out about their termination through office rumors.

3. Comply with requirements – There are many legal requirements to keep track of, such as the benefits they are entitled to. Severance pay, vested money in retirement plans, unemployment insurance – make sure you don’t miss anything.

4. Keep it private – Under no circumstances are you to make their termination a public spectacle. Call them in for a meeting — with all necessary parties present — and explain the situation and reasons for firing them. Being professional and answering their questions will greatly decrease the odds of them filing a lawsuit later.

5. Maintain workplace security – Don’t forget to immediately ask for the employee’s keys or access cards to the building. If they seem like they will be disruptive, have security escort them to their desk and out the door.

With this, the company should be able to get through the termination process quickly and avoid any liability.