Best practices when dismissing an employee

When you hire someone, you invest in their role in the company. Sometimes, however, you have to let go of an employee who fails to meet expectations. 

Protect your legal interests by following California laws and best practices when terminating a worker at your company. 

Maintain a written record

Keeping careful personnel files can support termination in court. If a disgruntled employee claims discrimination or wrongful termination, you should have evidence of past discipline and warnings. 

You should also document the decision to end a person’s tenure with the company. If several members of the leadership team met to discuss the next steps, for example, keep notes of that meeting. 

Pay final wages immediately

In California, you must provide an employee with his or her outstanding pay immediately upon termination. You must also pay for unused vacation days if an employee has paid time off as a benefit. Workers who do not receive the full payout on the last day of work can claim a late fee for each day of delay. 

Provide COBRA notification

If your company has at least 20 employees, you must continue to offer terminated employees access to group health insurance coverage. In addition to this federal COBRA law, California requires companies with 2 to 19 employees to offer state COBRA for up to 36 months. If these provisions apply to your firm, you must give the fired worker written notice about their COBRA rights within 30 days. 

Telling the worker in person in a calm, professional manner can help ease the transition. Prepare to eliminate access to company accounts and retrieve company property immediately after this meeting.

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