Ending a professional relationship with an employee can be a challenging aspect of managing a business. There can be significant legal risks if proper protocol is not followed in ending a person’s employment. British Columbia employers should act carefully to avoid a wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Here are three do’s and a don’t for terminating an employee:
- Do communicate any issues with an employee’s performance clearly in advance of the termination. An employee should not be blindsided by a firing. Employees need to have a clear awareness of the issues with their performance in advance, and a supervisor should be able to directly point to specific examples of the problem(s) to explain the termination.
- Don’t terminate over the phone or by email unless absolutely required by the circumstances. An in-person meeting with a neutral third party to witness is recommended to have such an important discussion.
- Do have all documentation prepared. This includes a severance agreement, if applicable, as well as a written notice of termination.
An experienced employment lawyer can help prepare the termination paperwork and plan what to say in a termination discussion. Employers should understand when reasons for termination can be considered wrongful dismissal and to avoid making legal mistakes under British Columbia employment law.