Avoid Wrongful Discharge Suits

From lexisonevia TechnoLawyer:

"Avoiding wrongful discharge claims starts in the hiring process. Supervisors and managers must know how to offer a job without implying an employment contract. Employment handbooks and job applications must contain an 'at-will' statement. Then, it's a matter of managing performance by:

1) Providing specific written notice of all problems with job performance, and give the employee a fixed period of time to correct the problems.
2) Keeping careful records of each employee's job performance.
3) Keeping specific, detailed, files on employee performance and reviews. For instance, don't note: 'Frequently leaves early,' or 'Work has numerous errors.' Record the dates the employee left early (and how early) or describe examples of error-filled work.
4) Include in the file written summaries of any warnings given to employees about their performance problems. Use a documented system of progressive discipline, escalating from oral warnings to written warnings to suspension to termination
5) Mete out discipline evenly. Don't overlook problems in one employee for which you discipline another.
6) Have an employment policy book setting out examples of offenses that will lead to termination.
7) Never make the decision to fire somebody out on impulse. If an employee's behavior pushes a manager to the boiling point, give the employee the rest of the day off and ask the manager to go back in his/her office and cool off. If the employee's behavior is seriously inappropriate, put him or her on immediate leave pending an investigation.
8. Run terminations past a lawyer so s/he can examine the worker's history and membership in any potentially protected group as well as the company's past practices and adequacy of documentation. "