The Not-So Short List of Ways to Mishandle Employee Terminations

The following is the not-so short list of ways that employers often mishandle employee terminations, leading to surprise and distress on the part of the employee, the appearance of unfairness and an eventual lawsuit. The list is not meant to be all inclusive (we would be here all day) – just instructive.

1. Failing to consider statements made in offer letters or provisions in employee contracts;

2. Giving the employee one reason for the discharge, when the real reason may be determined by a investigating agency at a later date;

3. Discharging for performance issues, without written performance appraisals or evaluations, or documentation of performance issues;

4. Terminating an employee for misconduct with conducting a full and fair investigation that includes interviewing the employee;

5. Not giving the employee the opportunity to correct deficient performance and failing to give prior notice that continued poor performance will lead to dismissal;

6. Terminating an employee without considering whether the company has followed a discipline policy outlined in a company handbook or whether the discipline is consistent with past practice;

7. Not considering whether the employee recently exercised a legally protected right, such as complaining about sexual or racial harassment, taking a medical leave, seeking accomodation for a disability or whether a termination may be viewed as retaliation;

8. Failing to properly manage statements concerning the employee’s separation from the company, such as making inflammatory announcements at a meeting or luncheon or sending an inappropriate e-mail;

9. Embarassing the employee by marching him or her out the door, with a box of belongings or otherwise making an example of the employee;

10. Forgetting to confirm any restrictive agreements, such as non-competition, non-solicitation or non-disclosure at the termination meeting.

11. Not providing a discharged employee with their final paycheck and pay for all accrued but unused vacation time;

12. Failing to give the employee the following notices: (a) how to file for unemployment benefits and (b) rights concerning continuation of health insurance;

13. Not considering whether a severance agreement would be appropriate under the circumstances.

If you have any questions about the termination of your employment, contact Boston, Massachusetts employment lawyer Maura Greene, Law Office of Maura Greene, LLC, Six Beacon Street, Suite 205, Boston, MA 02108.  Call us, we’re friendly!  617-936-1580 or email at [email protected]