Disputes can arise between you and an employee at any stage of employment, including during termination. Despite following the employment contract or your internal procedures during the process, an employee may still sue you for wrongful dismissal.
Here is what to do when this happens.
1. Evaluate the grounds for their complaint
An employee may file a wrongful termination lawsuit on different grounds, including things like:
- Breach of contract
- Discrimination/ harassment
- Constructive discharge
You should learn of the grounds your employee is basing the case on, as this will help inform your subsequent steps.
2. Gather evidence that supports your decision
The grounds for the wrongful termination lawsuit will guide you when gathering evidence. For instance, if your employee states you fired them without giving a warning first for the mistake in question, which is a step included in their contract, you need to pull up the records that prove otherwise.
If their case against you is based on discrimination, you can prove you have policies that protect all employees. You should also make sure that you have all your documentation together that supports your actual reason for terminating their employment. Preserving any relevant evidence is also key to avoiding problems with spoliation, which could negatively affect your position.
For example, if you dismissed them for continual poor performance, gather their performance evaluations for the last year or so to show the court that the termination was necessary. You should also submit documents that prove you followed the procedures in the contract, including the notice of dismissal and the termination letter.
If your employee sues you for wrongful termination, you should get legal guidance to defend your actions.