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Tips for firing a protected employee

Nov 26, 2021 | Employment litigation

Many of your employees may fall into certain protected classes. These include gender, age, religion and race, though the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  also lists other categories. 

You’re not allowed to fire employees due to the areas that are protected. For instance, you cannot fire female workers simply on the grounds that they are female, and you can’t fire workers over 40 simply because they are older workers. 

You can fire them. You just need to know how to

It is possible to fire these employees, but it is imperative that you know how to do it without creating a legal fiasco for yourself. Here are a few tips: 

  • Document everything you can so that you can back up your position.
  • Provide a reason for the firing, even when you’re not legally required to do so. For instance, explaining to a worker that they’re being let go because they are consistently late to work can help to avoid a lawsuit.
  • Follow all of the procedures laid out in your employee handbooks and other such documentation.
  • If the employee works for you on a contractual basis, make sure you honor their rights under that contract.
  • Be open and honest and offer to answer any questions that they may have.

Doing all of this may help your position, but nothing guarantees the employee will not feel wronged and file a lawsuit after being terminated. If this happens, it’s crucial that you understand all of the legal options you have to protect your business and your reputation.