Even if you want to terminate an employee for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons, it is still not recommended that you pull the trigger until you fully vet the decision with experienced employment counsel, especially in California.
Why should you hire a California employment lawyer before firing an employee?
- More often than not, California employers are in violation(s) of employment laws that they were unaware of or did not intend to violate, but unfortunately expose the Company to liability to this employee and potentially others, regardless of whether the termination is made for legitimate non-discriminatory or retaliatory reasons or
- More often than not, prior conduct by the employee may expose the Company to potential legal claims based on nothing more than the timing of the termination. (For example, if the employee lodged a harassment complaint a month earlier, the employee can legally claim retaliatory termination – the termination was in retaliation for making a complaint, even if it is 100% untrue, as the timing alone will require the claim to be decided by a jury) or
- If an employee is likely to sue, regardless of the merits, it is expensive to defend because the laws and court system are inefficient, employee-friendly and costly. Paying a small severance in exchange for a release of claims will not only give the employer piece of mind extinguishing the employee’s right to sue the Company, but it will be far less expensive than legal action of any kind.
- Even if you decide to terminate the employee anyway, the consult allows the employer an opportunity to correct any potential unknown legal violations, minimize potential risks, sure up any short falls in the employer’s documentation and position the Company to fully defend any potential actions that may follow, if no severance agreement is offered and agreed upon, all of which are invaluable because it is done before taking an adverse employment action and communications with counsel are privileged (i.e., protected from disclosure).
The e-book shares my invaluable checklist of key areas that I inquire about to evaluate a Company’s legal exposure. However, this checklist only identifies threshold issues, all of which depend on a variety of variables that are unique to each employer, employee, employment matter, applicable federal and state laws, employee’s position, actual duties, and a host of other individualized inquiries. The information included is general legal information and is not legal advice.
By consulting with an attorney from Sherman Law Corporation from the onset of a workplace issue and before taking an adverse employment action, your Company will cost-effectively resolve potential claims or at the very least, position your Company to defend any employment-related claims that may follow. For more information, call us at (323) 488-2087.