If you are an employer, you will sometimes need to fire or dismiss employees. You may have chosen to do this because they behaved in an unacceptable way, they were underperforming, or because you employed them at-will and decided that you wanted to scale down your workforce.

It’s important that you always check the employment contract that is in place between you and the employee before letting them go. If you employed the employee in question at will, that means you can let them go without giving a specific reason. That said, you cannot let them go for a discriminatory reason. If a former employee has accused you of wrongful termination, the following are some things you should consider doing to successfully defend yourself.

Have the documentation in place

It’s best that you communicate in written form as much as possible. If you have a face-to-face meeting, aim to follow up afterward with an email to confirm what was discussed and what conclusions were made. This way, you will always be able to refer to the documentation if an employee accuses you of not following due process.

Keep the same decision-maker in place

If possible, the same person who hired an employee should be the same one to deal with the process of firing them if this occurs. This protects employers from false claims of discrimination. This is because it can be argued that the person that hired the employee is unlikely to be discriminatory against the employee if they were not deterred from hiring them in the first place.

Have policies in place

You must make sure that all employees are treated the same. For example, if two employees engage in a terminable offense, but only one is fired, this could make you vulnerable to a wrongful termination claim.

If you have been accused of wrongful termination as an employer, it is important that you take action to defend yourself.