Hiring/Firing Protocol

There are various applications and forms that any employer should, and oftentimes must, provide to a potential hiree. Failure to have the right forms and procedures in place can lead to problems down the road and potentially legal liability.

Additionally, when interviewing and hiring an employee, there are certain areas of inquiry that an employer must be aware are not permissible to ask about. Questioning an employee about his/her age, citizenship, national origin, sexual orientation, arrest records, or even various organizations can lead to legal liability. One of our attorneys can discuss this more in depth with you and you can find more information as well at www.dfeh.ca.gov.

When an employee is being terminated for cause, state the reason in the most concise manner (i.e., "employment is terminated effective today due to excessive absenteeism"). The reason can also be left off the letter, but if it is disciplinary in nature, and can be objectively stated, it is worthwhile to include the basis. The last paycheck must be included at the time of discharge, as well as information on state unemployment benefits (which can be obtained from the Employment Development Department (EDD) website).

Do not let personal grudges or offenses cloud or motivate what you write. Be aware that any of these letters can end up as an exhibit in a defamation or wrongful termination lawsuit. Say what needs to be said to explain why the action is being taken. Do not use the discipline or discharge to tell the employee off.

Do not fire an employee on a whim. You have a legal duty to conduct a reasonable inquiry and investigation into uncertain wrongdoings. If you hear that an employee has stolen something, broken something, or harmed someone, do not instantly fire him/her without first exploring the situation and determining what really happened.