Create a Thorough Paper Trail Before, During, and After Termination
Posted on September 30, 2012
Documentation is the key to demonstrating that your actions were fair, consistent, and business-related. Most managers would admit that the risk of not documenting outweighs the time and effort required. But at the end of the day, the truth is that appropriate documentation is hard. A manager’s time is a precious commodity, so documenting meetings with employees can seem less important than something else more pressing.
However, a solid paper trail can be critical a few months down the road when the memory becomes foggy around specifics. Many employment claims (wrongful discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, to name a few) may come down to “he said – she said” in court, and if the employer is lacking documentation, the employee is much more likely to win.
Before termination, ask yourself:
• Have you documented and communicated previous infractions?
• Did you document the employee’s understanding of the circumstances, and his or her agreement to make the necessary changes?
• Do you have any witnesses of any infractions incurred by the employee?
o Did you record witness statements and include them in the employee’s file?
• Does the documentation include the dates and times of any meetings?
Terminations can never be made bulletproof from claims of discrimination or retaliation, but if you take time to document your steps, you will be in a much better position to defend your decisions and actions.
For more information, please contact your ESG Human Resources Consultant.