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Top 10 most common mistakes employers make in connection with employee termination

November 29, 2012
By Michael J. Wietrzychowski

How an employer approaches termination can make a huge difference in their ability to achieve successful resolution of employee termination claims. Today is our first installment of the “Top 10.” We also provide suggestions to minimize potential liability:

1) Lack of clear policies, procedures and job descriptions. Because courts and government agencies consider an employer’s policies, procedures and job descriptions in connection with employee terminations, the employer should follow these basic rules:

  • Prepare clear workplace policies and job descriptions;
  • update the polices and job descriptions regularly, if not at least annually;
  • disseminate policies and job descriptions to employees regularly, if not at least annually;
  • conduct training and education programs for the employees periodically.

2)  Inconsistent application of policies and procedures.  Courts and government agencies also consider the application of the employer’s policies, procedures and job descriptions.  Therefore, it is good practice for employers to:

  • Train and educate management on the polices, stressing the importance of consistent application;
  • use a team approach for important decisions such as termination; and
  • clearly document and justify any deviation from policy and procedure where warranted.

3)  Failure to investigate thoroughly. The failure to conduct thorough investigations can unnecessarily call the termination decision into question.  Employers should:

  • Establish a process and stick with it;
  • conduct and conclude the investigation in a timely fashion;
  • devote the time and effort necessary to perform a good investigation;
  • obtain  input from employees; and
  •  document the investigation.

Stay tuned for tips 4-6!

For more information regarding this or other labor and employment issues, please contact Michael J. Wietrzychowski, Vice Chair of Schnader’s Labor and Employment Practices Group. 
The materials posted on Schnader.com and SchnaderWorks.com are prepared for informational purposes only and should not be considered as providing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. Please see our disclaimer page for a full explanation.

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