Before Issuing Employee Termination Letters
Review It Carefully!
Before you ever issue any employee termination letters you should review the situation one more time to make sure you are doing the right thing.
Kind of like a Pilot before taking off or landing. They have a checklist to make sure the simple things are not forgotten or lost in the mix. For a pilot it might be as simple as putting down the landing gear. That might not be such a small thing once the plan touches down.
Employee termination letters are issued everyday without doing this little simple process and then they wonder why they end up with a wrongful termination case against them. Maybe they forgot to put down the landing gear!
So what should you go over before issuing the employee termination letters?
Now for the sake of this information, we are not speaking of voluntary resignations. We are speaking only of terminations that you are initiating against the employee.
Here are some things you should make sure of!
Was the violation against a written policy that you have in either your employee handbook or any other format? If so, is it considered a terminable offense? Or does it fall under cumulative offenses over a specific period of time?
Was the employee made aware of the policy, and if so, how?
If the termination is for cumulative offenses, do you have copies of the previous written warning letter or letters on file? Is there evidence that they were issued to the employee?
What is the evidence against the individual? If a witness or witnesses were involved do you have a signed written statement with all the facts? Do you have all the facts of the investigation you conducted on file?
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Was the violation against a written policy?
As an example, time cards, submitted reports, copy of signed receipt of employee handbook, copy of policy, and any other documents that support a decision to issue a termination letter.
Have you conducted a review of personnel actions for similar situations? Don't just look at other employee termination letters, look at all personnel actions you have done. Are we treating everyone the same.
As an example, even if this one by itself is justifiable, and you treated someone else differently in the past it will be used against the organization if a wrongful termination case is presented. So review your practice, and go back in time a while.
Is the employee in a protected class? If so, look at everything even closer. If your organization has a history of issuing employee termination letters to primarily individuals in a protected class you will be put under the spot light even closer.
This does not mean you shouldn't move forward if you are acting in an ethical manner. Just be sure that you are!
Are we treating all employees in the organization the same? In other words maybe you did look at previous employee actions and everything checked out fine, but if other employees have been violating the policy and no recorded action has been taken it will surface in a wrongful termination case.
Do not target specific employees is the message here!
Play devil's advocate! Assume an EEOC claim, or any other type will be filed. Are you acting in good faith?
So before issuing employee termination letters this should be a minimum of the things you review first. Don't let emotions dictate your actions! Be smart, and use good leadership skills!
Thank you and may God bless you!
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