You cannot stop a disgruntled former employee from suing for unfair dismissal. Yet, you can reduce the chance they will and have a solid defense ready in case they do.
Firing someone may seem a simple decision, yet you need to tread with care. However useless you feel someone is, they still have workers’ rights.
Think about your dismissal procedure before you need to use it
If your company does not already have procedures governing how to terminate employment, then put some in place. It avoids the chance of mistakes when you have to let someone go. Here are some things to consider:
- Be transparent about the rules: What do you consider grounds to fire someone? While you might say you know it when you see it, it is better to sit with HR and your senior team and put it in writing. If you share that information with workers, they know the lines they cannot cross and the consequences if they do.
- Document everything: The door swings open, and in walks Mr. Tardy, your habitually late employee. “This is the fifth time this month,” you say. Yet, if you never keep records, it may be his word against yours if he complains because you fire him for poor timekeeping. If someone is on their last warning, you need evidence to show how many notifications they have already had.
- Learn your laws: You cannot operate within the law if you do not know what those laws are.
If you do not have time to read up on California employment law, get help from someone who does. Telling a court you were unaware you could not do something is not an adequate defense.