Managing a business is no easy task, and one of the most challenging parts of the job is ensuring that you are not violating your employees’ rights. When terminating an employee, you must be extra careful to avoid breaking the law.
Many company owners tend to think that they are in the clear if they have a good reason for terminating an employee. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you are not careful, you could face serious consequences.
According to the National Law Review, “Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for an illegal reason.” This could include firing an employee based on race, religion, gender, or disability. It could also mean firing an employee in retaliation for reporting discrimination or harassment. If you wrongfully terminate an employee, you could face several consequences, including:
A lawsuit from the employee
The first and most common consequence of wrongful termination is a lawsuit from the employee. Employees who believe they were wrongfully terminated can file a lawsuit against their employer. This could result in the company having to pay damages to the employee.
If the employee is an active union member, they may also file a grievance with their union. The group may seek union arbitration case resolutions, where an arbitrator hears both sides of the story and makes a ruling. If the union decides to take action, they could file a lawsuit on behalf of the employee.
Damages that have to be paid to the employee
If an employee wins their wrongful termination lawsuit, the company will likely have to pay damages to the employee. These damages could include lost wages, emotional distress, and punitive damages. While you might think that paying the damages would be the worst part of the lawsuit, there is actually another consequence that can be even more costly.
Often, the amount you have to pay in damages is not the only money you will lose if you are sued for wrongful termination. You will also have to pay your own legal fees. This can be an incredibly costly process, and it could put a severe strain on your business.
A negative impact on your business’s reputation
Imagine building your business’s reputation for years only to have it destroyed by one wrongful termination lawsuit. This is a real possibility if you are sued for wrongful termination. The news of the lawsuit will likely spread, and it could damage your business’s reputation.
This could lead to your company losing customers and clients. It could also make it difficult to attract new employees. If you value your business’s reputation, you must be extra careful to avoid wrongful termination.
A loss of morale among your other employees
Your employees’ morale could also be hit if you are sued for wrongful termination. Your employees will see that you are willing to fire someone without following the proper procedures.
This could make them feel like they could be next and make them less likely to trust you. They will start to feel as if their jobs are not safe, and this could harm their work. A loss of morale can harm productivity and make it difficult to retain employees. In the end, your business could suffer.
Possible criminal charges
The following possible consequence of wrongful termination is criminal charges. In some cases, firing an employee for an illegal reason could result in criminal charges. If you are convicted, you could face jail time and hefty fines.
This is a severe consequence that should not be taken lightly. If you are facing criminal charges, you must speak to a lawyer immediately. One that can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.
Rebuilding your business
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you will be sued for wrongful termination. If this happens, you will need to focus on rebuilding your business. Here are some tips that you can use to help you rebuild your business:
- Communicate with your employees: Let your employees know that you are committed to following the proper procedures when it comes to terminating an employee. This will help to rebuild their trust in you.
- Train your managers: Train your managers on how to properly terminate an employee. This will help to prevent future wrongful termination lawsuits.
- Review your policies: Review your policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date. This will help to ensure that you are following the proper procedures in the future.
- Speak to a lawyer: If you are facing a lawsuit, speak to a lawyer. They can help you to understand your rights and options.
- Focus on your business: In the end, the best thing you can do is focus on your business. This will help you to move past the lawsuit and rebuild your company.
As you can see, there are several possible consequences that can come from wrongful termination. If you are not careful, you could face damages, legal fees, a loss of morale among your employees, and even criminal charges. To avoid these consequences, you need to be careful when terminating an employee. Make sure that you follow the proper procedures and document everything.