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How to protect your business from wrongful termination claims

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2023 | Employment Law |

Businesses are rightfully concerned about the possibility of legal ramifications if they choose to terminate an employee. Allegations of wrongful termination are sometimes justified, but for some employers, the decision to fire an employee was not made lightly and it was done for a good reason with no ulterior motives involved.

That might not stop a dismissed employee from claiming they were wrongfully terminated and filing a legal claim seeking compensation. In today’s world, this is frequently viewed from the employee’s perspective.

Although it is a positive that employees are given more rights and greater protections, employers can get lost in the shuffle and their rights pushed to the side. A business can be fundamentally damaged by wrongful termination claims and it is vital to be shielded. From the start, it is important for employers to be cognizant of how to avoid wrongful termination claims by behaving in an evenhanded and legal manner from the start.

What constitutes wrongful termination?

Employers need to know when wrongful termination allegations might be valid and strive to avoid claims when dealing with employees. Since Kentucky is an “at-will” state, it means that employers can generally dismiss employees whenever they choose to do so and not give a reason. A case that was decided upon by the Supreme Court of Kentucky concisely details when there might be wrongful termination and when a dismissal is justified.

When people are discriminated against for any reason including age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, national origin and for many other factors and are dismissed because of it, it might be a case of wrongful termination. Those who complain about mistreatment like sexual harassment or are whistleblowers about safety violations in the workplace are also protected by anti-discrimination laws.

Employees can be terminated because they did not fulfill their duties, there are layoffs, they committed behaviors such as theft that warrant termination, they simply did not adhere to the requirements of the job or the business is closing.

Employers need to differentiate when terminating employees

Treating employees in an aboveboard manner is a sound strategy for businesses to avoid wrongful termination claims. Still, even if a business adheres to the law and makes sure to have a sound reason for firing an employee, there could be claims of wrongdoing. Employment lawsuits can be costly in myriad ways and it is imperative that businesses are fully protected.

Established businesses and new businesses alike are vulnerable to the negative connotations of an employment lawsuit. It can damage or outright destroy a business and its reputation.

Lodging a defense is crucial and that includes having detailed evidence of how employer-employee issues are handled, making certain the employees are up to date on their status and adhering to the law. Even if the business is protected, they could be confronted with discrimination claims. It is wise to have a comprehensive strategy to combat these allegations to reach a positive result and shield the business.