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How Can Employers Avoid Accusations of Wrongful Termination?

 Posted on February 22, 2023 in Employment Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_attn-jaclyn_20220817-202310_1.jpgBy: Attorney Jaclyn Kallie

Wrongful termination is a serious accusation that can have potentially devastating consequences for employers. If a former employee or an outside agency believes that an employee has been wrongfully terminated, the employer can face an investigation, fines, and other penalties. It is important for employers to understand the legal implications of wrongful termination, and they should take steps to ensure they are not accused of such wrongdoing. With the help of an employment law attorney, an employer can make sure they are protected against potential wrongful termination claims.

Understanding the Rights That Apply to Employers

It is important for employers to understand their rights when it comes to dismissing employees. In Wisconsin, employment is considered “at-will,” meaning an employer can terminate an employee at any time, with or without cause. However, there are exceptions to this rule; for instance, employers cannot terminate employees based on their race, gender, religious affiliation, or other protected characteristics. They are also prohibited from firing employees who have reported workplace safety issues or violations of laws or regulations by a company or its personnel. In addition, employees cannot be terminated for filing workers' compensation claims, reporting sexual harassment, or taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. By understanding their rights—and what they can and cannot do when it comes to terminating someone—employers can make sure they take the correct steps to avoid wrongful termination claims.

Document Everything

One of the best ways for employers to protect themselves against wrongful termination claims is by thoroughly documenting all interactions with employees who are being disciplined or dismissed. Keeping detailed records of conversations with staff members regarding performance issues or disciplinary matters can help prevent misunderstandings about why someone was fired. This can also provide evidence to show that an employee was terminated for legally valid reasons if the employer is accused of wrongful termination. Furthermore, keeping accurate records also makes it easier for any third-party agencies investigating the case to determine whether a wrongful termination occurred.

Ensure Fair Treatment of Employees

Employers should make sure they treat all employees fairly and consistently. If one employee is treated differently than another due to factors such as race, gender, or disability, there could potentially be grounds for a discrimination lawsuit. To prevent these types of accusations from being made in the first place, employers should always strive to maintain a level playing field by following consistent policies and procedures for hiring, promotions, discipline, or other issues that affect employees.

Be Transparent With Employees

Whenever possible, employers should make sure employees understand why they are being disciplined or terminated and what will happen next. This includes explaining any relevant policies regarding severance pay or the continuation of benefits. Being transparent with employees about the reasons for a dismissal helps create trust between the employer and employee, and it will reduce the chances of an employee filing a wrongful termination claim.

Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Employment Lawyers for Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination claims can be damaging for employers, and it is important for employers to understand how to avoid such accusations. It is crucial to follow all applicable local, state, and federal employment laws, and employers will also need to determine the best ways to respond if they are accused of wrongful termination. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee employment law attorneys can help employers understand the best ways to handle these situations, and we can provide legal representation and work to resolve these cases with minimal disruption to a company's operations. To set up a consultation, contact us today at 414-271-1440.




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