Business owners are understandably concerned about the prospect of a wrongful termination lawsuit from a former employee. But there are times when letting an employee go is the best and only option. RKPT’s wrongful termination lawyers can help you minimize the likelihood that a former employee will file a wrongful termination lawsuit. And if a former employee does file a wrongful termination claim, we have the knowledge and experience to vigorously defend you and your business.
Avoiding a Wrongful Termination Claim
If your business is concerned about the prospect of a wrongful termination claim, you should consult with our employment attorneys as soon as possible. Our lawyers can provide advice to help you avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Preventing a wrongful termination claim starts early. You should lay the foundation for defending against a wrongful termination lawsuit before terminating an employee.
- Your employee agreements should be worded to avoid making statements that could be construed as promises of continued employment.
- Your business should have a detailed employee handbook that includes clear guidelines for termination of employment.
- You should speak regularly with employees about your expectations and their performance.
- Document legitimate reasons for termination, including any disciplinary measures taken, along with dates and manager signatures.
- If you dismiss an employee, consider offering a severance agreement.
- Consult with your HR manager and an employment lawyer before terminating an employee.
Clear employment guidelines can eliminate many wrongful termination claims. Handling the dismissal professionally can reduce the former employee’s desire to take legal action. For these guidelines to be effective, you must closely follow the terms of your employment agreement and employee handbook.
When a Former Employee Files a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
If your business is facing a wrongful termination lawsuit, you will need to show that there were legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for the termination of employment.
Wrongful termination lawsuits generally stem from the employee’s belief that they were terminated for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. They may claim they were terminated based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation, or that they were fired after filing a complaint with human resources.
Defending Against a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
Defending your business in a wrongful termination lawsuit usually involves showing that there were legal grounds for terminating the employment. As an employment-at-will state, Ohio employers can terminate an employee’s position at any time and for any or no reason, unless contradicted by law or an employment or collective bargaining agreement.
The key to defending against a wrongful termination lawsuit is presenting evidence that shows you had a legitimate, legal reason for the termination. This can be accomplished by presenting evidence of:
- Past performance reviews and employment improvement plans that show the employee was performing below expectations.
- Emails, correspondence, and meeting notes that establish a history of performance or behavior issues.
- Policies that establish the company’s procedures for addressing certain issues, such as the protocol for handling complaints of harassment.
- Evidence that other similarly situated employees were treated the same way as the terminated employee.
RKPT: Ohio Wrongful Termination Lawyers
A wrongful termination claim can lead to significant financial damage and harm to your business’s reputation. Claims of wrongful termination can also affect employee morale, distract from productivity, and lead to wrongful termination claims from other employees.
RKPT’s employment litigation lawyers recommend taking a proactive approach to wrongful termination claims. This means creating and enforcing employment policies, having a detailed employee handbook and following its terms, regularly speaking with employees about their performance and the business’s expectations, and documenting legitimate reasons for termination.
If a former employee does file a wrongful termination lawsuit, our employment litigation lawyers can protect your business, provide advice and legal representation, and protect your company from liability.
We invite you to contact us today to learn more about our employment litigation services.