After an employee has been fired, he or she often looks for a reason to sue. After all, the former employee has little to lose and much to gain.
Something as innocuous as having usedmay then become the basis for a lawsuit as the former employee looks for any reason to get into court and perhaps negotiate a quick settlement.
Because you never know what claim a former employee may raise, the best approach is to be prepared for any possibility.
How to do that: Carefully document your disciplinary process, including any, warnings and other evidence that the employee wasn’t performing his job as well as you expect.
Recent case: Peter worked as a contract physician for a medical clinic and also as an emergency room doctor. He preferred the ER shifts and often found others to cover clinic time.
As a result, his record-keeping was often late and the clinic sometimes couldn’t bill for services when Peter’s paperwork hadn’t been prepared and signed. Peter received numerous warnings and finally was discharged.
He sued, pointing out that he had been terminated on a day he was onto care for his cancer-stricken wife.
But, he couldn’t tie hisusage to his discharge given the volume of documentation the clinic had to show he wasn’t performing his job well. The case was tossed out. (Eriksson v. Deer River Healthcare Center, 13-647, DC MN, 2014)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- The Dirty Dozen: Manager mistakes that spark lawsuits
- You can discharge if there's no way to tell when employee will return to work
- Make sure you ask for FMLA certification each time employee says she needs leave
- Concurrently running FMLA leave, vacation time and short-Term disability