Healthcare and Medicine Reference
In-Depth Information
Three Legal Reasons for Terminating an Employee
1. The employee violated a known company rule or rules. Erickson
(2005, p. 1) says that before this rule can be used and legally upheld, an
employerwillneedtoprovethat:“(1)theruleactuallyexists;(2)the
employee knew that it existed; (3) the rule was violated; (4) other employ-
ees were terminated for the same infraction; and (5) the termination was
reasonable punishment for the infraction.” Documentation is very impor-
tant. To make certain that an employee has all the organization's policies
and rules you should have them sign a statement that they have received,
read, understand, and intend to abide by all policies and rules.
2. The employee is unable to perform the job adequately.
Erickson (2005) indicates that to prove incompetence an employer
must document that they tried to improve a worker's performance
several times before they terminated the employee. They must also
show that the expectations were reasonable and that other employees
showing the same degree of incompetence were fired. All of this
requires proof of policies setting out levels of competence required to
maintain the position and clear indications of when evaluations will
take place and how unacceptable work will be handled.
3. The organization is reducing its workforce for economic rea-
sons. The final legal reason for terminating an employee is if it is in
the best economic interest of the company in question. Layoffs are
common reasons for terminations, especially in larger corporations
that are downsizing or restructuring. Here, courtesy is expected, and
employees who are involved in a large-scale layoff need to be given at
least 60 days notice of the layoff. This courtesy is required by the
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).
The Importance of Documentation
To make sure that you have all of the documentation you need in case of
a grievance or law suit (this is particularly important in civil service and
public employee termination), Erickson (2005, p. 6) says that you should
have the following in your personal files:
￿ Critical incident reports;
￿ Employee evaluations (at least one a year. I would recommend evalua-
tions every 6 months, especially for new employees for the first
3 years.). See Chapter 10 for a discussion and example of how to do a
competency-based evaluation;
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