Helpful Tips for Terminating an Employee
Terminating an employee is not an easy task, but it is a necessary part of running a business. Unfortunately, it’s also an action that can create vulnerabilities for a company, spawning lawsuits or other forms of retaliation from former employees. Even if the termination was fully justified, becoming the focus of a wrongful termination lawsuit can be costly and time-consuming for your business. So, it helps to follow some general rules when it comes time to let an employee go.
Gather Appropriate Documentation
Even though employees work on an at will basis in Arizona, it is still helpful to provide thorough documentation backing up your reasons for terminating an employee. For example, if you fire an employee who has several negative performance reviews on file, it will be clearer that the employee was not let go for other, possibly discriminatory reasons.
You should also review company policy prior to firing an employee. There may be company-mandated procedures to follow, such as a probationary period or a series of written warnings.
Provide a Final Paycheck at the Time of Termination
You are not legally required to provide a final paycheck at the time of termination in Arizona, but it is helpful to do so. You should also provide any owed sick pay, vacation hours, and reimbursements. Offering a severance package can provide further security from employee lawsuits, as you can require that the employee agrees in writing not to take any retaliatory action against the company upon accepting the severance payment.
Avoid a One-on-One Meeting
At least two company representatives should be present at any termination. This provides a second account of what exactly was said during the meeting, which can be particularly useful if the employee makes any threats or other inappropriate actions. It may also be helpful to have building security present to escort the employee off the premises.
Mesch Clark Rothschild is your legal resource for employment and labor disputes, including wrongful termination. Our attorneys represent clients from throughout Southern Arizona, and we can help your business maintain its positive reputation. Call us at (520) 624-8886 or visit our website to schedule a consultation.