Employers must be very careful when terminating employees, especially if the person has made a complaint about something like labor law violations. There is a chance that the worker might claim that the termination was unlawful because it was made in retaliation for the complaint.
There is a fine line that you have to walk in these cases. One of the best things that you can do is to clearly document any issues that you have with the person's work. Put this into their employment record so that you can show that there were problems leading up to the termination.
It is illegal to take adverse employment actions against an employee if they have participated in a protected event, but only if the action is in response to the protected event. Some common protected events include:
- Making complaints related to sexual harassment or any form of discrimination
- Filing complaints about violations of labor or safety laws
- Demanding an employer follow applicable laws
It is also illegal for employers to fire individuals in a way that violates an employment contract, whether it is verbal or written. The termination also can't be in violation of collective bargaining agreements or labor laws. If you must terminate an employee, ensure that it is done in line with the law.
There might be times when employees claim you wrongfully terminated them. When this happens, you must take the complaint seriously. Find out the basis for the claim so you can determine how to proceed. It is best to take the time to learn your legal options so you can protect your business.