Being Sued For Wrongful Termination? Adhere to These Do's and Don'ts

Finding out that your business is being sued for wrongful termination is enough to make your heart sink. You let go of an employee, seemingly for above-board reasons, and now they have filed a lawsuit against you, claiming that you fired them illegally. What should you do in this situation, and what actions should you avoid? Here's a look.

Do Not: Contact the employee directly.

Especially if you worked with the employee personally and knew them, you may be tempted to reach out and try to mend fences personally. While this is a kind idea, it is not a smart one. You never know how your words may be twisted as an admission of guilt. It is best to not have any personal contact with the employee suing you; all communication needs to be through your lawyer.

Do: Hire labor litigation services.

Your case may very well go to court, in which case you will need an attorney to represent you. If your current labor and employment lawyer does not do litigation (meaning that they do not stand up in court), they can recommend someone who offers labor litigation service. Often, law offices will have some lawyers who focus on paperwork and other day-to-day aspects of employment law, and these are the lawyers you will deal with most often. But they may have another team that handles litigation; these are the lawyers who step in when a case has actually been filed against you.

Do Not: Get rid of any documents or records related to the employee.

Even if you think a certain document may reflect poorly on you or may not represent your side well, do not get rid of it. If it is discovered that you have done away with evidence, the judge may assume you are guilty. Give all documentation related to the employee to your attorney ASAP so they can look it over and formulate your defense.

Do: Review your labor practices.

There are times at which employers illegally fire employees without realizing it. Perhaps you intended to adhere to the law, but you unknowingly violated the law in the way that you terminated the employee. To make sure that this does not happen again, arrange to have your practices reviewed by your labor lawyers. You would not want several employees to band together and file a joint suit against you; that is a lot harder to fight. You need to make sure you're doing things the right way, going forward.