Terminations are messy, public and humiliating, and they’re fodder for hungry plaintiffs’ lawyers.
Lawyers representing terminated employees love an ugly firing the way personal-injury lawyers love a bad car wreck. No matter how well deserved the termination, no matter how flawless the documentation of the employee’s poor performance, and no matter how high the hopes for calm following the departure of a contentious employee, a poorly handled firing can turn even the best intentions into a nightmare of litigation. Since a “bad” firing can be used as evidence of the employer’s animosity toward the employee in a subsequent discrimination, retaliatory or wrongful-discharge lawsuit, spitefulness in a termination can be very harmful to an employer’s defense. In my top desk drawer, I keep clippings of “bad firings.” Consider the following examples: