Pitfalls of Dismissing

It is always a good idea to call your employment lawyer before an employees dismissal even if the employee has signed an iron clad termination clause. Most of my clients do so and sometimes the call helps the client save thousands of dollars. This past week like most weeks I had a number of calls from clients who wanted to terminate an employee.

In one case, the employer wanted to terminate a poor performer without just cause. For various reasons, I always want to know the backstory to a potential dismissal so I started asking questions. It turns out the employee was disabled and had very recently requested accommodation. Although I have no doubt the disability had nothing to do with the desire to terminate, the employer had not done a good job of documenting several bona fide performance concerns, had not warned the employee that his employment was at risk. Lessons to be learned:
1) Make sure every employee signs an employment contract with a legally enforceable termination clause.

In order to dismiss someone, you have to be substantively as well as procedurally correct in every aspect.

2) Always call your employment lawyer before terminating an employee even if the employee has signed a legally enforceable termination clause. 3) To avoid additional legal liability, it is sometimes necessary to delay an employee termination. Damages for human rights violations, punitive damages, and the intentional infliction of mental stress can far exceed the termination pay an employee is owed under an employment contract. For blogs discussing non-termination pay damages.

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