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247compliance is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 1.5 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit shrmcertification.org.

Once the decision to terminate an employee has been made, certain business issues that have legal consequences must be addressed. This course provides basic training on how to terminate an employee without triggering legal liability in the process. How one addresses terminating an employee may be different depending on their legal status as well. The participant will learn to recognize the business issues that arise from a termination and how best to address them. Basic employment laws at the federal and state level regarding termination of employees will also be covered.


  • Type of employees and the issues they present
  • Employee termination policies
  • Risk analysis
  • Lay-offs vs. discharge for cause
  • When is it illegal to fire an employee?
  • Documenting performance issues
  • Conducting the legal review
  • Informing the employee
  • The final paycheck
  • Severance pay and unemployment claims


Although terminating employees is one of the more unpleasant aspects of business management and ownership, it is sometimes absolutely necessary. When necessary it should be performed in the most professional and ethical manner possible. Following proper procedures in terminating an employee not only softens the blow to the employee, but can protect the business from potential litigation arising from the termination. The decision to terminate an employee sets into motion a series of duties the employer must handle responsibly in order to afford the most legal protection to the business.


  • Determining the type of employee being terminated (At-Will, Government, Contract)
  • Review of the company termination policy
  • Understanding Federal & State laws related to wrongful termination
  • Documenting the employee file to prepare for termination
  • How to inform the employee of the termination decision
  • Severance pay, waivers of legal rights and unemployment claims


  • Business owners/operators
  • HR/personnel managers
  • Department or unit managers
  • Any manager or employee with the responsibility of terminating other employees


Melvin K. Patterson, an attorney licensed to practice before all state and federal courts in California, is General Counsel to the Cedrus Group, a family of international financial services firms with offices around the globe. He is a member of the Labor & Employment Section of the California State Bar and has been admitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California as well as the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. Mr. Patterson is experienced in Labor and Employment litigation and transactional matters in the U.S., Asia and the U.K. He has designed internal business policies, procedures and management structures, as well as inter-corporate relationships and has been a business owner himself. Mr. Patterson is an experienced trial litigator who has handled numerous business and commercial matters for over 20 years on behalf of an elite clientele around the world. He has defended clients in matters brought against companies by employees, commercial business agreements and government regulatory matters. Mr. Patterson holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the John F. Kennedy University School of Law, as well as a Certificate in Strategic Human Resource Management from Cornell University. He has also earned the American Jurisprudence Award, completed specialized training in Assessing Economic Damages, Forensic Discovery and Preservation of Electronic Evidence and Data. Mr. Patterson was nominated to the National Dean's List and has been a speaker before such groups as the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, is a past contributing editor to California Motions In Limine (The Rutter Group) and has been a columnist for the "The Docket", the news and information journal of the San Mateo County Bar Ass'n. He has a knowledge of Korean, Japanese and Spanish languages.

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