Terminating an employee is never a desirable option, but sometimes it is necessary for the efficiency of a company or organization. When it comes to police recruits, it is imperative that only the most qualified advance into the force, for the safety of the public, as well as the rest of the police force. Unfortunately, terminating a police recruit can be a complicated task, in order to avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit. Lawsuits regarding termination are more common than you’d think, and can waste precious time and money in legal proceedings. There are, however, steps that can be taken to help prevent wrongful termination suits.
Reasons for Termination
To help avoid a lawsuit it is important to have specific reasons for termination. So what are the most common reasons for termination? Incomplete or poor reporting skills is one of the most common reasons for police recruit termination. Police reporting is an essential part of a police officer’s job, and recruits who are unable to properly report an incident will unfortunately not be able to continue with the force. Another reason for termination is poor decision making skills. When someone’s life could be on the line, it’s essential for officers to make wise split second decisions. When a recruit is unable to make decisions quickly, they become a danger to those around them, and are no longer a productive member of the team. The third most common reason for termination is an insufficient understanding of use of force rules and regulations. Police officers must understand use of force regulations and use their best judgment in situations to determine when force is really necessary. Using this judgment can be difficult for some, so a proper understanding of use of force rules and regulations is imperative, and the inability to learn those rules will result in termination.
Recruit Termination Documentation
In order to prevent a wrongful termination suit it is imperative for specific reasons to be documented on a termination form. The more specific the violations or deficiencies, the better. Progress reports should include specific accounts and examples of inadequate behaviors, documented with the date and any evidence available, such as photographs or improperly documented reports. Reporting reasons for termination and employee performance can be challenging and oftentimes information can get lost or misrepresented, so having a system in place for reporting is very important. Computer software is available for reporting and tracking performance, which can make this task more simplified, and can help prevent any future issues with past recruits. Software for tracking recruit performance and termination can help remove some of the human error that comes along with performance reviews, and can provide a centralized place for organizing all reviews, documentation, and reporting.
Unfortunately not all police recruits are suited for a career as a police officer. Whether the recruit is unable to properly document incidents, can’t make wise decisions quickly, or doesn’t understand use of force rules, termination may be the best option. In these cases termination is necessary, and proper reasoning and documentation is essential. With wrongful termination lawsuits on the rise, documentation can prevent or shorten time consuming lawsuits.