As an employer, it is your obligation to monitor the performance of your employees. If you believe that an employee is not able to fulfill his job duties, you may have to fire him and hire another individual who is more qualified than him.
However, accomplishing this task may be hard if you have built a good relationship with the employee or if he has been working in the company for several years. In addition, firing an employee can also expose you to different liabilities if he decides to file a wrongful termination suit against you.
A wrongful termination case may be filed if an employee was fired due to illegal reasons like discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract. Although most employees in California are hired at-will, they can still sue you if they were fired in violation of their rights.
If you want to avoid facing a wrongful termination suit, it is advisable that you follow these tips:
- Think carefully before you fire an employee. If he is being accused of incompetence by his supervisor, you should investigate the issue before making a decision. Do not rely too much on the supervisor's words because there is a possibility that he made the wrong assumption or decision. You should ask the supervisor to give you documents that can support his accusation in order to determine if the employee really failed to meet your expectations.
- Do not be biased when evaluating the performance of an employee. You are prohibited from firing an employee because of his religion, age, gender, disability, or national origin. Instead, you should focus on his skills, work attendance, and qualifications when making employment decisions.
In addition, you should not fire an employee who accuses you of violating the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). He has the right to exercise his rights under this law and if you fired him because of it, you may be sued for wrongful termination.
- Keep a copy of all warnings or negative reports that you have given to your employee. Creating a paper trail will enable you to prove that the employee's performance is unsatisfactory.
- Follow the company's policies that cover disciplinary actions that should be given to employees who have a poor job performance or have behaved improperly while at the workplace. If the employee handbook stated that first time violators will only be suspended for a few days, you are prohibited from instantly firing the employee. You may only do so if he continues to violate company rules.
- Consult a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney. This expert will tell you if you have a good reason for terminating your employee. He will determine if your actions will violate your employee's rights and prevent you from facing a time consuming and costly lawsuit.