You never know which terminated employee will sue—or how long he might wait to do so. That’s why it’s important to document everything leading up to the termination. Then make it your policy to retain firing-related documents indefinitely.
Recent case: Janitor Ralph McCullough got into an argument over his performance. At a meeting with several other employees of the Trenton school system, he allegedly said that all the stress might make him violent.
The school system promptly fired him and took statements from everyone who heard McCullough’s outbursts.
Seven years later, he filed a discrimination lawsuit.
The court quickly dismissed McCullough’s case after the school system produced solid evidence—the co-worker statements—that he had been fired for making threats. (McCullough v. Trenton Board of Education, No. 07-5341, DC NJ, 2010)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Play it safe: Craft policy banning supervisor/subordinate relationships
- Lawsuit-proof your firing decisions: Have those who hire or promote also do the firing
- 2nd degree burn: Order to fire can be retaliation
- Handbook helps convince court to overturn discrimination decision