If you have employees, the time may come when you want to terminate one or more of them. Whether your decision is due to low productivity, attendance issues, misconduct, or any other reason, there are certain things you should consider before firing someone to protect your business from unnecessary liability.

Even though most employment relationships in Texas are “at will” – meaning you have the right to end the relationship at any time – employees may accuse you of wrongful termination if they are disgruntled after they are fired. Even if the accusations are unfounded, you still may have to spend time and money defending against them. The following are some steps to take to avoid such conflict whenever possible.

To speak with an experienced business attorney about firing employees and other delicate employment matters, contact The Weisblatt Law Firm for a consultation and case review. Attorney Weisblatt is ready to meet and help you find solutions. Call (713) 666-1981 today.

Keep Thorough Records

Always keep complete and accurate records of any actions by employees that may lead to termination, including performance reviews, attendance, adverse incidents, and more. These can serve as evidence that you did not fire them for an illegal reason.

Consult with a business attorney to learn the various state and federal record-keeping requirements as well as best record-keeping practices. Doing so will help ensure that your records are unimpeachable during legal proceedings.

Be Aware Of Employment Laws

Employment laws prohibit employees from being terminated for certain reasons. You should be aware of whether there may be any possible legal action after a termination due to any of the following:

  • Is the employee a member of a protected class under anti-discrimination laws?
  • Did the employee recently file a claim for workers’ compensation?
  • Did the employee recently request or take leave under the FMLA?
  • Did the employee complain of unfair wage practices, discrimination, harassment, or any other unlawful behavior at work?

If the answer is yes, you should consult with an attorney before firing that employee in case you need to prepare for a potential legal claim. In fact, business owners should consult with attorneys long before the issue of a problematic employee arises to prepare themselves for such an occurrence and protect their businesses. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Attorney Andrew Weisblatt is intimately familiar with a wide variety of business legal challenges and uses this knowledge to benefit clients. Delicate legal matters, such as employee firings, are his specialty.

Keep It Professional

During the actual termination, be as brief and professional as possible, even if the employee starts getting angry or emotional. It may be wise to have someone else — such as an HR representative — present for the termination.

Being professional in this situation involves keeping communications on the professional level and refraining from involving personal matters. Firing is a business decision that should have little to do with personal disputes not related to the business and its operation.

In optimal cases, an official firing policy will be in place when it comes time to let an employee go. If you have such a policy, it is important to follow it to the letter to avoid legal troubles down the line. If there is no policy covering dismissals, it is strongly advised that business owners and supervisors learn the legal boundaries involved before proceeding.

Security Issues

Unfortunately, firing an employee could cause certain security issues to arise. Employers and supervisors should be aware of and prepared for problematic employees who may pose a threat to others.

In some cases, an employee who is fired might choose to get aggressive and even violent. They may take their anger or frustration out on management or other employees. Regardless of how a violent situation might manifest, employers and bosses must ensure that there are mechanisms in place to protect other employees and the general public.

Failure to implement reasonable security measures for a firing could lead to significant legal liability in the case of an injury caused by a fired employee. Employers should invest time and resources in legal counsel on the matter and in proper security services before an incident can occur.

Alternatives to Firing

In some cases, it might be worthwhile to consider alternatives to firing an employee. Depending on the circumstances of the incident and the employee’s record, probation or suspension may be a reasonable alternative to a dismissal.

Consult With an Experienced Houston Business Lawyer Today

Employment and labor issues can deeply impact a business’s profitability. Whether you want advice regarding firing an employee or are facing legal action from a former employee, you deserve robust legal representation. An experienced business lawyer will give you the guidance, protection, and peace of mind that you need to navigate employee firings and any other legal challenges effectively.

For representation from The Weisblatt Law Firm, reach out to our office at (713) 666-1981. Schedule a consultation and case review to learn how Attorney Weisblatt can help. Call today.

Houston Business Contracts Attorney

Attorney Andrew Weisblatt

Mr. Weisblatt has practiced continuously since becoming licensed in 1992 and has represented businesses ranging in size from one person start-up ventures to multi-national corporations employing hundreds of people in multiple countries. From 2005 through 2009 Mr. Weisblatt was in-house counsel and chief operating officer of a multi-national corporation in the steel products industry. That in-house position provided valuable insight into how businesses work and what they actually need from their lawyers – both in-house and outside counsel. Attorney Bio