In the modern business landscape, employees can resign and
employers can fire “at-will,” without notice or reason. Most state laws have
adopted an “at-will” policy due to everyday realities of the workplace: often
employees fail to get along with co-workers or supervisors, they under perform,
or employers wish to drop some dead weight in order for business to grow.
In the best case scenario for both parties, the employee will own
up to his shortcomings by being honest in his next job interview about why he
was released. This will usually be the case where the employer has given the
underachieving employee reprimands, warnings, or counseling about his
performance. Both the employer and employee will have moved on personally and
But sometimes employees will be surprisingly released after being
told some time ago by superiors that their job performance was satisfactory, or
that everything is “just fine.” Or the employee has picked up on unofficial
warning signs like attitude changes or fewer work assignments, and he feels
pressured to resign in the face of looming termination. Notwithstanding the
common at-will arrangement in the workplace, employers need to tread carefully.
While the law of the state in which the company is located will determine if
the employer must give prior notice of a separation, blindsiding an employee
with a pink slip or even a mutual separation agreement may open the doors to
Evidence involving an employer puffing to a fired employee about
his job performance can lead to wrongful termination lawsuits. This is
especially likely if the employee belongs to a class of people given special
protection in the employment discrimination laws. When an employee is fired
without prior notice, no matter how long he was employed, he instantly becomes
a risky investment for future employers who are bringing aboard somebody who
was fired. Therefore, the stigma of getting fired is both personal and
professional, and the employee may seek compensation on both grounds.
What can you do if you are faced with a difficult employee or a
substandard worker? A PEO will defend your case if you report in detail your
problems to the PEO before taking any adverse action against the employee. The
PEO will instruct you how to take proper legal measures in termination so that
you can avoid any litigation hassle. Even if the employee plans to bring suit
anyway, the PEO will assume complete control over the matter so that you can
run your business without concern.
However, informing your PEO is an essential first step toward
expedient resolution. A qualified PEO can help you reduce
your exposure and let you get back to the business of running your
business. For more information go to
www.PEO7.com. Fill out
this form www.PEO7.com/form
to get more info and proposals on employee leasing services.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Sheehan is a licensed
attorney and a member of the State Bar of California.
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