Naperville Business Attorney on How to Terminate an Employee While Protecting Your Company
No matter how hard you work to hire quality employees, there will come a time that you will need to terminate one. It could be a matter of performance. It could be a matter of attendance, or it could be related to theft or breach of contract. Whatever the situation, it is critical that you, as an employer, know how to protect yourself from wrongful termination lawsuits and discrimination lawsuits. A skilled employment law attorney can offer you some key tips on legally terminating an employee in the state of Illinois.
Understanding At-Will Employment
As most states do, Illinois lets business owners employ “at will.” This means that you can terminate an employee for almost any reason, or even no reason at all, as long as employment contracts and other documentation do not contradict your right to employ at will. (If you have questions about this, you should contact an experienced business attorney for sound legal advice.)
When Firing an Employee Can Result in Legal Issues
While you do have the right to fire an employee at will, there are some restrictions. You cannot fire someone for a disability or because of his or her race, age, sexual identity, gender, sexual orientation, or a number of other protected characteristics. Whistleblowers who file a complaint about safety issues, discrimination, and/or harassment in the workplace are also protected. Further, you cannot terminate an employee for taking family, medical, or military leave, nor can you fire them for serving jury duty. If you terminate an employee under these conditions, you could land yourself in some serious legal trouble.
Protecting Your Company from Litigation
Because there are certain situations that are protected under law, it is critical that you document performance and attendance issues throughout the employee’s time with your company. This will serve as evidence, should the employee attempt to file a wrongful termination suit against your company. Keep this on file, even after the employee is terminated, just to be safe.
You should also ensure you understand which benefits your employee may be entitled to after termination. Examples may include a continuation of their health insurance, unemployment insurance, and vested retirement plans. A lawsuit could also arise if you fail to provide such benefits as promised.
A DuPage County Business Law Attorney Can Help Protect Your Business
If you are facing a litigation matter, or simply want to ensure that your company remains protected from potential litigation, contact the Gierach Law Firm. At our firm, we have the knowledge and skills to meet your company’s legal needs. Schedule a confidential consultation with a Naperville business lawyer to learn more. Call 630-756-1160 today.
U.S. Small Business Administration