One fundamental premise of employment practices risk management is that when terminated employees feel they have been humiliated or treated unfairly during the termination process, they often file wrongful termination lawsuits.
Losing a job is a traumatic event, even when performed with the utmost respect. To avoid the risk of wrongful termination lawsuits, terminating an employee requires planning and professionalism. Management should anticipate how an employee might react to the stress of termination. In addition, a manager should never have a termination conversation with an employee when the manager is angry or upset.
Common sense dictates appropriate behavior for managers when terminating employees. Refrain from using humiliating or disrespectful language, and remain professional during the termination process. If an employee responds with an emotional outburst, stay calm. Furthermore, never threaten or shame the employee at any time during the termination process.
Importantly, never terminate an employee in front of other employees. Terminations should take place in private with a witness and not in a staff meeting.
Terminating employees with respect helps avoid costly claims. Many jurors have either lost a job or know someone who has, making it easy for a jury asked to decide a claim to identify with a terminated employee.