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Arlington Heights business law attorneyA few weeks ago, a post on this blog explored the challenges in making the decision to terminate an employee who is no longer a good fit for your company. That post highlighted the importance of careful record keeping and rational decision-making so that you could protect yourself in the event of possible legal action. The second and final stage of the termination process, however, is the termination itself, and letting an employee go must be done in such a way that both the rights of the employee and your company are protected.

Meet Face to Face

While it may be uncomfortable for you, your employee deserves the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting in most cases. Try to avoid terminating an employee over the phone, through text message, or even via a letter. There may be some exceptions, such as worker with habitual attendance problems, but an in-person meeting is appropriate far more often than not.

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Arlington Heights employment law attorneys, employment at willIllinois is an employment at will state. That means employers do not have to provide a reason for termination to their employees. However, there are important limitations and exclusions that employers should know about before they terminate an employee. The following information explains the laws and provisions, and where employers can find help with ensuring they are compliant with Illinois state law.

Discrimination and Termination

Employers cannot terminate an employee for reasons related to race, color, marital status, physical or mental disability, gender, religion, ancestry, citizenship status, national origin, age, or military status. So, although they do not need an official reason to terminate an employee, it is usually preferred that employers do have documentation to back up their reason. This can provide protection in the event of a discrimination lawsuit.

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employment policies in Illinois, Arlington Heights business lawyerEmployee handbooks that establish the groundwork and boundaries for your staff are critical, whether you are a new business owner or have been in business for many years. If you have been an employer for some time now, it is always wise to review your current policies and handbooks periodically to ensure your guidelines are current and relevant to reflect your most recent business practices. If you are just beginning a new business venture, the policies you put in place now will set the tone for your work environment and the relationship you share with your employees now and in the future.

Why the Details Matter

Without thorough, detailed guidelines that outline what is expected of your employees, your business runs the risk of serious liability when it comes to termination and the hiring process. Not only do you need to spell out the responsibilities you require of your staff and the expectations you have for them in terms of their performance, but you also need to be very clear on the behaviors and actions that are not acceptable and why.

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employee termination in Illinois, Arlington Heights business lawyersEmployee termination is never an easy task, even when the grounds for firing are legitimate and indisputable. Letting a team member go can stir up a number of mixed feelings amongst your staff and can prove to be difficult for the person being terminated as well as the management team involved in the termination process.

Although conflict is inevitable in the workplace, as an employer it is important to reduce tension and prevent any problems before they arise whenever possible. Being prepared and knowledgeable about proper business etiquette and legal requirements can go a long way when you are given no choice but to let someone go.

Employment-at-Will

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