Letting go of an employee can be a stressful experience not only for the employee, but the employer as well. When an employee of a federal credit union recently returned from vacation to discover that she was being fired, she quickly filed a lawsuit claiming that she was wrongfully terminated. With employment litigation underway, the credit union is now tasked with defending its decision.
This case highlights the importance businesses should place on properly documenting all employment decisions. When terminating an employee for cause, the action should be documented thoroughly and saved. They can then be used to support the employer’s actions if necessary.
The suit claims that the plaintiff counted the money in the credit union vault without breaking the straps on the bills. She then left work early for vacation. When the employee returned to work, she was called into a meeting with several staff members. Her drawer was audited, and she was interrogated. She was informed that the account was balanced the day after she left, but did not have the amount in it that she reported.
Testimony from multiple parties who are familiar with the circumstances, as well as adequate documentation of those circumstances, is a great resource for employers in wrongful termination claims. It is often advisable to have several people review such situations. This serves to demonstrate how thoroughly the employer considered the action.
The suit claims the employee was asked several questions about the personal accounts she held with the bank. She was also questioned about her certainty that her vault count had been correct. After a suspension without pay, she was told she was being terminated for not adequately maintaining the vault.
All employers in New Jersey should be prepared for employment litigation. Whether the employment dispute is triggered by claims of wrongful discharge, or by other issues such as sexual harassment or civil rights violations, the best defense is to maintain robust policies to handle any such incidents and to document them thoroughly as they occur. Businesses that take these steps may improve their chances of prevailing in lawsuits brought against them by disgruntled or terminated employees.