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Keep records before firing an employee

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2023 | Labor And Employment

If you’re worried about being accused of discrimination or wrongful termination when you have to fire an employee, one way to potentially avoid these allegations is to ensure that you do good recordkeeping in advance. You can then rely on these records to show that you had a reason to let the employee go that was not based on the type of discrimination that they are alleging.

For instance, perhaps you conduct periodic performance reviews to express the standards you expect at the company and let employees know how they have been doing. These reviews can serve as excellent documentation of any changes in the employee’s performance. For example, if they got exemplary reviews in their first year but the ratings have generally declined in the second year, it might make sense for you to replace that employee to try to get better production out of the position.

Countering claims of discrimination

Hypothetically speaking, say that you have an employee who fits into a protected class that you would like to terminate. Maybe your industry is predominantly male, for instance, and so you’re worried that firing a female worker will result in allegations that you are discriminating on the basis of gender. 

If you simply let that employee go, while retaining the male employees, they may instantly assume that they have been wronged. But you can counter that claim by providing the performance reviews and showing how that employee compares to the others that you decided to keep. If they were the worst performing employee, then it becomes clear that this was the true reason why their position was terminated and it had nothing to do with gender.

Cases like this can be quite complex and it’s important to understand all of your options and how to use documentation to your advantage.