Facing a wrongful termination or workplace discrimination claim can leave you feeling uneasy. A successful claim against your business can result in your business facing a steep judgment that may be difficult to pay, and the damage caused to employee morale and your business’s reputation can be difficult to repair. But don’t let this fear paralyze you into inaction. Instead, you need to know how to implement strategies to protect yourself from these allegations and defend yourself in the event that allegations of wrongdoing end up heading to court.
Protecting yourself from a wrongful termination claim
So, what strategies can you utilize to defend your business? Here are just some of the options that may be at your disposal:
- Engage in progressive discipline: Progressive discipline is the process where you increase the severity of punishment levied against an employee so that you create a record of the employee’s short-comings and provide him or her with ample opportunity to remedy the problem. This discipline often starts with a warning, then moves to a written reprimand, counseling, and maybe even suspension. You can ensure that performance appraisals are clear, too, so that termination, should it occur, isn’t a surprise.
- Argue necessity: In some wrongful termination and workplace discrimination cases, you may be able to admit that the policy or practice in place had a disparate impact on a certain class of workers, but you might be able to show that the policy was necessary to fulfill a legitimate business interest. To succeed on showing this, you’ll have to present evidence that speaks to certain legal elements, such as that the policy was applied evenly across all workers, the policy was directly related to the job in question, that the policy in fact was consistent with a business necessity, and that even reasonable accommodation wouldn’t have allowed the worker to meet the policy.
- Gather evidence that shows that the employee is untrustworthy or otherwise problematic: Sometimes, workers just have an axe to grind for whatever reason. They may have disagreed with some feedback that was given to them, or they may simply disagree with the company’s mission or a promotion decision. In these instances, the worker may make statements or engage in actions that are indicative of someone who will take whatever action possible, including unwarranted legal action, to bring down their former employer. So, think about talking to coworkers and reviewing the former employee’s email, text, and other communications to find evidence that supports your position.
Be diligent in building your wrongful termination defense
There are so many moving parts to a wrongful termination claim that many employers end up shifting their focus towards parts of their case that are less important, or they spend too much time focusing on the public fallout instead of aggressively litigating their case. Don’t get us wrong. Protecting your business’s public image is certainly important, but you have to navigate those issues while you build your defense.
That’s why it might be best for your business to work closely with a law firm that is skilled in handling these kinds of cases. The attorneys at our firm, for example, aren’t afraid to depose key witnesses to assess their credibility and attack it, if needed. We may be able to utilize other legal tactics to try to minimize the impact of damaging evidence, too.
What’s important to remember is that you and your business need and deserve a custom-tailored defense that suits your needs given the facts at hand. If you want more information about how to obtain that type of representation, then consider reaching out to a legal professional before it’s too late.