Terminating the Employment Relationship

Table of Contents

Public Sector

Last Updated: 08-07-2020

Employment relationships are similar to personal relationships; rarely do they end to both parties' satisfaction. One party often would like the relationship to continue, while the other party has a beneficial interest in severing the relationship and moving on to greener pastures. If done correctly, a "break-up" will allow both parties to move forward with no or relatively few feelings of resentment. Conversely, a "bad break-up" may leave one party harboring resentment and looking for retribution or money. Unlike in personal relationships, retribution for a "bad break-up" in an employment relationship may lead to a lawsuit, which could lead to liability and certainly will lead to spending money litigating, settling or both.

There are two ways an employment relationship ends: involuntarily and voluntarily. For purposes of this workbook, an involuntary separation occurs when the employer severs the employment relationship with an employee who otherwise desires to continue working for the employer. Voluntary separations occur when an employee elects to end the employment relationship. While liability most often arises out of involuntary separations, it can arise out of voluntary separations if an employer does not protect itself. The purpose of this Workbook is to provide public employers with guidance regarding the best practices and procedures to use when involuntarily or voluntarily ending the employment relationship with an employee or group of employees. The majority of the workbook focuses on involuntary separations; however, parts of the workbook touch on best practices for avoiding liability in voluntary separations, such as when an employee elects to retire.

When using this Workbook, it is important to consider that it is only a guide and cannot be relied upon for definitive legal advice regarding a specific situation. Ending the employment relationship with an employee often requires a unique, fact-intensive analysis. The analysis can change with the absence or addition of a single fact. Therefore, we advise you to consult an attorney when dealing with a situation that could lead to future liability.

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Disclaimer: This document is provided as a benefit to Liebert Library subscribers and cannot be shared outside of their organization. The information contained within is a template only and is not designed to address the specific and unique issues, internal rules, practices, and/or governing documents that might be in place at your organization. You should always consult with legal counsel prior to implementation of any documents.
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