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Illinois business law attorneyOne of the most challenging things a business owner must do is manage his or her employees. Unfortunately, this sometimes means terminating an employee’s job. There is no possible way to eliminate the sting and awkwardness of letting an employee go, but there are some ways to prevent the situation from becoming more painful or dramatic than necessary.

Modify Hiring Practices to Avoid Needing to Fire Employees

One of the best ways to avoid having to terminate employees is to focus on hiring employees who are a great fit for their job. When you hire an employee, be very clear about what the job entails and the expectations you have for the person in the position. The more a candidate knows about a job, the more accurately they can assess if it is the right job for them. Furthermore, doing adequate research about potential candidates can help you determine if they would be a good fit for your business.

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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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Illinois business attorneysWhen you employ a staff to help you meet the needs of your customers, sooner or later you will have an employee who fails to live up to your expectations. Perhaps he or she has problems with being on time, complying with your company’s dress code, or is simply not productive enough to warrant what you are paying him or her. But, how can you be sure that firing the employee will not blow up in your face, so to speak? There are some steps you can take to help protect yourself and your company from lawsuits and frivolous accusations when you decide to terminate an employee.

The Two Phases

In the movies and on TV, it not uncommon to see a boss fire an employee on the spot for a particularly egregious mistake or outburst. While an immediate firing may be warranted on occasion, most employee terminations occur after an extended decision-making process. Firing an employee, usually, can be broken down into two separate stages—the decision and the termination—and both must be handled properly.

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Arlington Heights business law attorneys, terminating an employeeThere are several aspects to running or managing a business. The act of terminating an employee is one of more difficult and unpleasant. It is also a situation that could potentially put your business at risk for litigation. If you have started a business and need to terminate a problematic employee, the following information can help you stay within the legal guidelines. It can also ensure you know when and where you can find help, should you need it.

Do You Have the Legal Right to Terminate?

Illinois is an “at-will” employment state, which means you do not need to have a reason or cause for terminating an employee. Yet there are some legal pitfalls that you, as an employer, must be aware of. You cannot terminate an employee for reasons that relate to their age, race, religion, or gender. Employers are also prohibited from terminating an employee for taking family leave, military leave, or time off for jury duty. Whistleblowers are also protected by law.

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