Labor: 3 ways to avoid problems with ex-employees

Establish termination processes to protect trade secrets and avoid discrimination claims

Sometimes employers find that ex-employees are a bigger headache than any current employee ever was. There are a number of steps you can take to minimize the chances of an ex-employee causing problems for your company. Most of these steps require appropriate planning well before the individual becomes an ex-employee.

1. Protect your assets. Safeguard your company’s intellectual property, trade secrets, goodwill, reputation and customer relationships. This protection needs to start before you hire an employee.

2. Use a deliberative process for employment termination decisions. Termination decisions should not be taken lightly. On the other hand, you should not keep a problem employee around when it is apparent that the employee needs to go.

  • Provide regular training for supervisors who have to make or communicate termination decisions. Your managers should know when termination is appropriate, what considerations are allowed, what considerations are prohibited and what process  to follow when implementing the termination.
  • Make sure that the termination decision makes sense. While you can terminate an at-will employee for any reason or no reason, doing so could cause an employee, and perhaps a jury, to wonder if there really was an illegal reason for the termination.

3. Set and follow procedures for employment termination.

Contributing Author

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John Zaloom

John Zaloom is a member in Moore & Van Allen’s Employment & Labor group. Regional, national, and global clients in wide-ranging industries rely on Mr. Zaloom...

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Contributing Author

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Karin McGinnis

Karin McGinnis is a member in Moore & Van Allen’s Employment & Labor group. She concentrates her practice on employment law, handling a broad range of...

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