Common employment law mistakes made by employers: #6 – Ignoring the emotional state of the discharged employee during settlement discussions

Outbursts of anger can occur during the events leading up to a dismissal, during a termination meeting and, if litigation occurs, during a mediation and  examination for discovery.  The anger experienced by an employee who feels like he or she has been mistreated can linger for years and, in some cases, may cause the employer to experience challenges in retaining or recruiting quality employees.  One method of dealing with an angry employee is to offer outplacement counselling.  These service providers can assist with the dismissal process and provide the employee with services that help him or her overcome the anger that he or she may be experiencing.  If litigation occurs, sometimes allowing an employee to express anger can improve the chances of achieving a settlement.  An employer may decrease the likelihood of resolving a claim by failing to recognize that one of the purposes of settlement discussions is to assist the employee in overcoming the emotional effect of the dismissal. Employers can take firm positions, and at the same time, treat the employee with respect during the litigation process.  It is much easier to achieve a settlement when an employee feels that he or she is being treated with respect and dignity, despite the disagreement over a legal entitlement.

J.P. Zubec