1. No reason given for termination; You’re an at-will employer, so you can fire at will, right? Wrong. Most employees think they’re wonderful employees, and if they get fired for a mysterious reason, they’ll make up their own reason - or their lawyer will. The reason for termination needs to be clear, succinct and legally valid.
2. Termination of an employee for bad performance, when the employee has good performance reviews; This is the big brother to “no reason given for termination.” Supervisors need to understand that they’ll need a poor-performance paper trail if they want to fire someone. Any competent judge or jury will see the through this one.
3. Coincidental or deficient timing; (a) An employee files an internal complaint about the employer or a supervisor, and then (b) shortly after is disciplined for a supposedly unrelated event. Employees who file complaints can be disciplined, but the supervisor better have the documentation in order before making the move.
4. Failure to respond or investigate in a timely manner; When employees file complaints, they want them thoroughly investigated and they want it done now. If an investigation is activated, communication becomes the first defense. Acknowledge the event, set a timely schedule for investigation, and keep the complainant fully informed.
5. Viewing an EEOC charge lightly; If you’re contacted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding an employee complaint, respond promptly and courteously - and treat the complaining employee courteously, too. If you’re reluctant or procrastinate in your response or treat the employee like a leper, expect to hear about it in court and from a heavy handed authority at that.
6. Failing to follow your own policies; You can have the best policies and training in the world - and indeed some companies have used that as a defense against a complaint. But you better be able to show that your supervisors followed those policies and applied the training and documented the results with no room for error.
7. Lack of respect of their loyalty. You’ve got an employee that is first in, last out, always willing to be part of a team, has successfully achieved all challenges you have put forth. But after being rode hard and put away wet, they are dismissed and replaced with another and usually for less money, less experience and many times less years of the face of the earth.