Paper trail's a good thing when firing your worker

score Question:
I hear and read numerous stories about firing an employee, which led to a legal battle. Is there any way to ensure that a legal battle isn't a sure thing?

There is no such thing as a "safe way" of firing an employee. But there are ways of reducing any legal entanglement.

Unless you handle the termination carefully, you're leaving an opening for legal and economic repercussions. Human-resource professionals advise business owners to be sure that they have documented the employee's performance shortcomings long before a situation has deteriorated to the point of firing.

This means keeping track of the employee's performance, good and bad, noting what all your workers have done right or wrong, when they've done it and what you've said to them. Essentially it means giving them warnings when necessary and a chance to improve their work or conduct.

It also means letting the employees know what's expected of them when they start to work for you.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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