EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS ARE CRITICAL TO PREVENT SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYEE LAWSUITS (PART 4 – Termination Guidelines)

This is the fourth article in a series explaining how Employee Handbooks play a critical role in preventing successful lawsuits. This post focuses on Termination Guidelines that should be considered when writing an Employee Handbook.

Termination Guidelines

The old adage, “less is more” is particularly appropriate with respect to termination policies.  Termination policies are designed to drive home two points: (1) that there are consequences for improper conduct, and (2) that the company retains discretion/flexibility to handle discipline on a case-by-case basis, in its sole discretion. Similarly, the policy must provide enough guidance to supervisors/managers so as to avoid having them apply the policy in an arbitrary, inconsistent or discriminatory manner.

Sample:

The Company expects employees to maintain acceptable standards of conduct and performance. Appropriate employee personal conduct promotes productivity and efficiency, and helps to provide a pleasant and cooperative work environment. An employee shall be subject to discipline for behavior including but not limited to misconduct, violation of the Company’s rules or policies, or poor performance. While it is impossible to identify every type of specific conduct that could result in discipline, the Company provides the following list to illustrate some of the types of misconduct that may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination:

  • Violation of attendance policy, including unexcused absences, tardiness, and leaving early without permission”
  • Misuse or falsification of company
  • Careless, inefficient, or negligent performance of
  • Insubordination, disrespect, or refusal to carry out work
  • Violation of Company safely
  • Misuse of tools, equipment; or other job materials, or willful damage to property.
  • Violation of the substance abuse
  • Possession of firearms, explosives or other weapons on the company
  • Fighting with, threatening, intimidating or harassing another
  • Stealing or other acts of
  • Horseplay which may endanger
  • Use of threatening or abusive
  • Improper use or disclosure of Company
  • Engaging in other acts inconsistent with reasonable standards of employee conduct as determined by the

The severity of the disciplinary action to be taken by the Company, in its discretion, depends upon the Company’s interpretation of all of the circumstances, including the nature of the offense and the employee’s record. Optional forms of discipline include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal
  • Written
  • Probationary
  • Demotion or

An employee may be subject to immediate discharge at any time at the sole discretion of the Company even if that employee has received no other form of discipline prior to the incident at issue. This policy does not alter the at-will employment relationship between any employee and the Company.

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