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Avoiding Costly Mistakes


Wrongful termination litigation has become very commonplace in today’s business world. Employers oftentimes make innocent mistakes that, if avoided, can prevent disputes before they occur. The following is a list of common mistakes employers make when terminating employees.

  1. Failing to document performance issues when they arise. The time to make a record of problems is when they occur, not just when it is time to terminate an employee.
  2. Being dishonest about the reasons for termination. Employees who are not told the true reasons for their termination are more likely to question the termination. It may be difficult to confront someone with their lack of performance, but it is easier than defending a wrongful termination suit.
  3. Deviating from the employer’s written policies. Policies are written for a reason: to provide clear guidance regarding how to handle a situation. When you deviate from the policies, you increase the chance that an employee will think the termination was wrong.
  4. Protect confidential information. Employees should be reminded of any confidentiality agreements so that the employer clearly takes steps to protect such information. Failing to take appropriate steps to protect confidential information can deprive such information of valuable protection.
  5. ALL wages must be paid immediately upon termination or within 72-hours of quitting. This includes all accrued but unused vacation and/or PTO time. It does not include unused sick leave. Employer’s face stiff penalties for failing to timely pay final wages.
  6. Fighting unemployment insurance benefits in every case. Smart employees may use the unemployment insurance arena to obtain valuable evidence in preparation for a wrongful termination suit. Before trying to defeat an employee’s unemployment insurance benefits case, analyze your chances of prevailing and the overall cost of such a fight.
The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego
95 South Market Street, Suite 520
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel. 408-293-6341
Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman, former associate of The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego.

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Phillip J. Griego represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.