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.
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.
Be Aware of Employment Laws
Employment laws prohibit employees from being terminated for certain reasons. You should be aware of whether they 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.
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.
Consult with an Experienced Houston Business Lawyer Today
Whether you want advice regarding firing an employee or are facing legal action from a former employee, please do not hesitate to call a Houston business attorney at The Weisblatt Law Firm. Contact us at 713-666-1981 to learn how we can assist you.
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