What are the best practices for employee termination?

When you are considering an employee termination, look to applicable employment contracts, your employee handbook, and the employee’s personnel file to find the information you need.  Illinois is an at-will employment state, but employment contracts and the disciplinary practices in your handbook may restrict your ability to terminate without cause.

The employee’s personnel file should contain documentation of all performance and misconduct issues.  Make sure that your employee received an adequate warning that their misconduct could result in termination and that you have sufficient documentation to support your termination decision if the employee decides to take you to court.  If there is not enough supporting documentation, consider whether a different disciplinary action is appropriate.

If you choose to move forward with the termination, offer your employee a severance package in exchange for a release of claims.  By paying a little extra now, you can avoid lawsuits down the line.

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