Employers can employ several strategies to prevent wrongful termination suits, including creating a protocol requiring all meetings and dismissal decisions to be recorded in order to eliminate confusion, allow employees to demonstrate their innocence in court proceedings, and document that the process was handled professionally.
Employees who believe their dismissal was equitable may be less inclined to file an employment tribunal claim. Knowing their managers kept them informed throughout the process and took into account mitigating factors can reduce the chances of tribunal claims being filed.
1. Invest in Training
Dismissing employees can be an emotional and complicated process, which must be managed carefully to avoid long-term repercussions such as lost productivity, legal fees or irreparable damage to a company’s reputation. Navigating this tricky terrain successfully requires knowledge of employment law, thorough processes and open dialogue among staff members.
Dismissals can happen for many different reasons, including poor performance, misconduct, redundancy and/or legal violations. Whatever the case may be, an effective employment contract and company policies must outline clearly which standards must be met in order to avoid being dismissed from employment.
Conduct regular performance reviews so employees are informed of their performance and given an opportunity to improve, thus eliminating the need to suddenly terminate an employee without legitimate cause and potentially minimising risk for wrongful termination claims. Keeping communication channels open with remaining staff after dismissal helps prevent feeling insecure or alienated after such decisions as it shows management is transparent and treats employees fairly.
2. Conduct Performance Reviews
Fair dismissal claims can be costly to companies and their employees alike, damaging reputation and taking up precious time and resources. SMEs that have implemented an established discipline process and policy for employees are less likely to face these claims than those without one in place.
Process should be clearly detailed in an employment contract, policies and handbooks readily available to staff. These should set forth what standards of performance should be expected from your employees and how any breach would result in dismissal. All meetings should be documented, with written letters sent after any discussions to inform employees about what has transpired.
Dismissing employees can be emotionally taxing for all involved, but with careful planning, empathy, and compliance with legal guidelines it can be done effectively. Reassuring remaining staff may feel insecure; to do this consider discussing options like redeployment or job search assistance that the company provides as part of this conversation.
3. Communicate with Employees
Avoid dismissing employees without good cause; doing so will save both money and time in terms of training and rehiring as well as reduce any potential for unfair dismissal claims.
Before any disciplinary actions are taken against an individual, it is crucial that they understand why their performance has fallen below expectations and have the chance to respond and request additional support if required.
HR is essential in this process as they have the skills and expertise necessary to handle a dismissal while adhering to all legal guidelines. Involvement ensures any underlying issues are taken into consideration and you don’t fire employees on discriminatory grounds such as age, sex or disability; additionally it shows employees you take their grievance procedure seriously should they feel they have been mistreated.
4. Keep Records
Removing employees is often necessary in running a successful business. Financial difficulties may require companies to reduce headcount to remain viable; other times specific employees may cause issues that warrant dismissal for cause, such as theft, trade secret disclosures, dishonesty, violation of company rules or harassing or disrupting other staff, as well as poor job performance measured against objective criteria.
No matter the reason for dismissing an employee, it is essential that proper disciplinary procedures be observed and that genuine reasons backed up with facts be provided as this will help avoid legal claims of unfair dismissal in the future.
Keep records of any conversations or meetings leading up to a dismissal, this will protect the business in case any future legal claims surface. Finally, collect any employer property given out like vehicles, phones, credit cards uniforms samples and security passes issued directly by their employer.