Firing an employee is never an easy job. It can be difficult both personally and professionally for everyone involved. There are ways to make the task a little easier professionally, however. Proceed cautiously when you believe that termination is warranted and make sure that everything is documented. The emotions of the employee being terminated will be running high and if he or she decides to pursue legal action citing wrongful termination, documentation can disprove such accusations in a Texas court.
ExxonMobil has been accused of wrongfully terminating a supervisor for racial reasons. The man is suing his former employer for $300,000 in attorney’s fees, court costs and other damages, including defamation of character, lost wages and emotional distress. Prior to his termination, the man was working 48 hours a week, which qualified him for overtime pay. He split his time between two different refineries and claims he spent a lot of time fulfilling job duties after hours at home as well. He believes that ExxonMobil asked another employee to investigate his hours because his is African-American and was ultimately fired because he was making too much money. The man was employed by ExxonMobil for 18 years.
It is always a good idea to seek legal advice before terminating employees, especially those who have been with the company for a long period of time or those who are in supervisory or management positions. In some cases, it may be beneficial to have an attorney negotiate a separation agreement rather than simply terminating employment.
Source: Southeast Texas’ Legal Journal, “African-American supervisor sues ExxonMobil alleging racial discrimination,” Michelle Keahey, Dec. 9, 2013.