NTRCA Legal Minute with Karen Ensley of Cutler-Smith, PC: Terminating an Employee

It’s time to terminate an employee. Hopefully you’ve developed and followed your company guidelines of progressive discipline. Was there an investigation?  Did you give yearly evaluations, coach the employee about under-performance issues? Or, maybe the infraction is so severe that immediate termination is called for.

Now what do you do?            

  • Keep Your Cool – Don’t spring the news suddenly or berate the employee
  • Avoid Surprises – The employee shouldn’t be completely surprised. Poor performance review is “for-cause” if you document it.
  • Watch What You Say and How You Say It – The employee will remember your words in the worst possible light. Avoid making discriminatory statements and be cautious during the termination meeting. Don’t be a jerk. Make sure it’s done in person and in private and, when possible, with an appropriate witness in attendance.
  • But ….Don’t be Too Kind – Even if you feel like softening the blow, don’t express your feelings in the wrong way. Tell the real reason. For example, if performance was substandard, say so. And don’t apologize for the employee’s failure to perform. If you feel like it’s your fault, you didn’t do enough coaching prior to the termination, and the termination may be premature.
  • Keep Quiet – Don’t discuss the reasons with other employees. Not only does it open you up to a lawsuit, but it damages your relationship with your other employees, who expect you to keep their private issues private.
  • Final Pay - Pay the employee, in full, for all time worked and benefits accrued, at the termination meeting. Although by statute you have the earlier of three days or the next pay cycle, to pay the terminated employee, have the final check ready to hand over at the end of the termination. If the employee has company property, retrieve it immediately, even if it means giving the employee a ride home to get it. Withholding pay under these circumstances is very risky.
  • If you are concerned about any aspect of the termination, make sure you have consulted your attorney or HR advisor ahead of time. 

How Can I Tell if My Roofer is Local? And Why Does It Matter?

In Texas, ANYONE from anywhere with no credentials or liability insurance can be a roofer. Nail technicians and hair stylists must be licensed in the state of Texas…but no such process or requirements exist for roofers (despite the best efforts of NTRCA and other associations who have pushed and lobbied for years for this kind of legislation to pass in Texas).

Texas makes it easy and LUCRATIVE for out-of-town companies, scam artists and workers from other professions to work on roofs after storms hit. Hail storms cause significant – and costly – damage in Texas each year. In 2011, for example, Texas had more severe hail events than any state in the country, causing $1.7 billion in insured losses statewide (according to the Texas Department of Insurance).

It’s “buyer beware” in Texas, and most consumers don’t realize it.

NTRCA highly recommends that, in addition to doing ample research and asking suggested questions, North Texas consumers choose a locally-based roofing contractor for any roofing work they need done.

Not all out-of-town or out-of-state roofers are unskilled or unscrupulous. But without offices here in North Texas….where will they be when your warranty needs serviced, you have a question or your roof springs a leak in the next storm?

Using a local, established, experienced and reputable roofing contractor not only means better workmanship on your roof (which protects your family and your entire home and its possessions), but it also means that when and if you need your roofer again…you’ll be able to find them!

How can you ensure that a roofer is local?

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  1. Visit the company’s website to find their address.
  2. Research the company’s address on google, bing or other similar search engine.
  3. Research the company via the local Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  4. Research the company with the Texas State Comptroller’s office.
  5. Ask for local credit, supplier and customer references. If the company cannot provide LOCAL references yet has a local PO Box or other address, their office could simply be temporary.
  6. Visit www.ntrca.com to research their membership status in NTRCA.

At NTRCA, our members are in the business of putting on quality roofs and conducting business in an ethical manner. They do not chase storms, but are committed to doing business and living in North Texas. To be a member, we require that roofing contractors warrant and represent that they carry liability insurance (note: always ask to see a copy of a roofing contractor's insurance certificate and call the insurance provider to ensure it is still in effect), maintain an office in North Texas, abide by our code of ethics, are in good standing with the BBB, and are recommended by an existing contractor and an existing associate member.

Regardless of who you hire, NTRCA highly recommends that you do your homework by asking questions and doing research on any company you may be considering. Don't let someone rush your decision. For more advice and information, go to www.ntrca.com. You can also find NTRCA on facebook, twitter and google+.