I Need To Fire An Employee. Do I Need A Lawyer?

If you own your own company and need to fire someone who had worked within your business, you may wonder if you should seek legal counsel about the termination. In most instances, firing someone with a justifiable reason will go by without a hitch, however there are some situations where it is best to be prepared. Here are some of the times when hiring an employment lawyer, such as one from Michael Terrence Conway & Co, is in your best interest when firing one of your employees.


If an employee has a written contract specifying that there are limits regarding termination, you will want to hire a lawyer before going ahead with your plan. This also applies to oral agreements or if the employee's direct manager had implied there was a contract in place. It would be a breach of contract to fire an employee if they had signed a contract specifying they were to be kept on the job for a certain amount of time. 

In most cases, you would need to renegotiate the terms of the contract and get approval from the employee before firing. The wording in a contract is very important to cover yourself from having to keep someone when you no longer need their services. It is best to include a passage specifying that you have the right to terminate without notice if you feel you may need to do this for any reason.


If you fear that an employee will take the news of a termination in a negative way that will affect you or your business, hiring a lawyer is recommended. Some employees will retaliate against their employer by sabotaging parts of the business. One way this is done is by giving away trade secrets to competitors. Another way is giving away passwords or talking about secure information to others in the company who are disgruntled themselves, in trying to cause harm to the overall sales or services the business gives. 

Sometimes a terminated employee will take matters into their own hands in making you aware of their dissatisfaction with your decision. If you are afraid that an employee will cause you or your family harm because of your decision to fire them, you must seek help from an attorney before you break the news. You may have to get local authorities involved to safeguard your well-being when the termination is being conveyed. 


If the employee you wish to fire has recently filed a lawsuit against you or your business, you will need a lawyer to counteract these claims. They will let you know if you will be able to go through with the termination or if you need to wait until after a court hearing is conducted. 

If you find out that an employee is in a protected class, such as being pregnant, you will need to hire an attorney if you plan on firing them for another reason. Due to the nature of the protected class act, you must prove the employee is not being fired for the reason they are protected. This needs to be handled very carefully to avoid being accused of being discriminatory.