Disciplining or terminating an employee can be one of many ethical issues a small business owner faces. Pursuing discipline can be a way to avoid terminating employees, but it is important to remember to always do what is right for your small business. Be sure to take all necessary legal precautions, as this can be a highly personal and sensitive issue for an employee. Read on for bits of advice on disciplining and terminating employees:
Terminating Employees – 4 Things to Keep in Mind
- Discipline > Terminate: It is considerably more economically feasible to retain a current employee instead of terminating an employee and hiring a new one. While individual personality traits can sometimes ruffle feathers in the workplace, effectively disciplining employees can be more effective than termination. Furthermore, you lessen the chance of facing ethical issues if you avoid terminating employees.
- Keep Records: Maintaining reports of poor performance of an employee will allow you to have support and guidance in disciplining or terminating them. These records will ensure you provide feedback to the employee on their behavior or personality traits in an effort to avoid termination. If the poor performance or negative behavior continues, you will have evidence to support that decision in the form of records indicating the reason for their dismissal from their job.
- Don’t Punish: Discipline allows you to guide and fix employee behavior by working with their personality traits and work habits to correct problems in the work place. Punishing employees can lead to major ethical issues and legal problems.
- Keep It Legal (and Ethical): Terminating employees can be a costly financial and legal decision if not carried out correctly. In addition to potential ethical issues such as discrimination claims, you can also face retribution for fraud or retaliation from an estranged employee. Don’t disclose the employee’s personality traits that led to termination unless they were unlawful, including fraudulent behavior such as lying or theft.
Disciplining and terminating employees is never easy; but if you document their behavior along the way you’ll likely protect yourself and your business from potential lawsuits and other negative actions. Have questions about disciplining or terminating someone? Give The Wilkerson Law Office a call; we’re happy to help!
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Asha Wilkerson is the founder of The Wilkerson Law Office. Ms. Wilkerson provides skilled advice and counsel to for-profit, non-profit, and faith-based organizations in the areas of business and employment law. The mission of The Wilkerson Law Office, is to preserve the longevity of your business by ensuring that every aspect of your organization is legally sound and operating in compliance with state and federal law.