Of course, one way employers can dramatically reduce their risk of wrongful termination suits, says Gee, is by offering employees a severance agreement in return for a release of all legal claims. "It helps the employee because it aids in their transition and doesn't preclude them from seeking unemployment insurance," she says. "From the employer's perspective, the severance agreements are important because the employee will release the employer of all claims related to or arising out of the employment [if they accept the severance package]. That will take care of tort claims, contract claims, discrimination claims and wrongful termination claims."
One final word of advice: Always have two people present in the meeting other than the individual being fired. That way, says Moore, if you end up in litigation, it's not one person's word against the other. "It's better to have a second person from the company who can indicate exactly what was said," she says.
Meridith Levinson covers Careers, Project Management and Outsourcing for CIO.com. Follow Meridith on Twitter @meridith. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Meridith at email@example.com.