Running a business in Michigan certainly has its ups and downs. For many employers, the worst part of the job is having to tell an employee that he or she is fired. Even when the termination comes about for good and legal reasons, the responses that workers have to job loss can run the spectrum of emotion. In some cases, terminating an employee could even open the door to a lawsuit if the situation is not handled properly.
Fortunately, there are ways that employers can protect themselves and their companies from wrongful termination lawsuits and other allegations from former employees. Some tips for effectively separating from an employee include:
- Inform the employee early in the week so that he or she may have easier access to resources that could help when coping with the sudden news.
- Schedule an in-person meeting with the employee rather than breaking the news over email.
- Have a witness sit in on the meeting — preferably someone from human resources if possible — who could later corroborate the details of the meeting if necessary.
- Anticipate strong emotions from the employee, which could range from shock to anger to sadness.
- Explain what the employee needs to do after the meeting, which could include gathering personal belongings and leaving the premises or working until a specific termination date.
It is also wise to have termination paperwork at the ready. These documents could include details relating to the termination — such as the termination date, information about applicable severance packages or compensation for paid vacation days. Employers may also want to have the employee sign the document to show that he or she understands the terms of dismissal.
Terminating an employee is never easy, and it can be an emotional process. However, Michigan employers should ensure that they take the proper steps to end the business relationship smoothly and mitigate any chances of pushback from the employee. Having the right separation documents and understanding legal options for defending against wrongful termination claims may be invaluable.