“The decision to terminate an individual´s employment carries with it the risk of a possible legal challenge. Depending upon an employer´s policies or whether an employee has an employment contract, an employee may, for example, have a breach of contract or "wrongful discharge" claim.
An "at-will" employer – that is, an employer who reserves the right to terminate employees without cause – generally does not need to worry about such claims. Like all other employers, however, an at-will employer still must be concerned about many other possible claims [such as]…discrimination, making false, disparaging comments about them to coworkers or other parties; treated them in a manner intended to cause emotional distress; invaded their privacy by improperly disclosing the reason for an involuntary termination; or terminated them in retaliation for exercising a legal right, such as reporting discriminatory or other unlawful employment practices or taking a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the Military Leave Act….
An employer can reduce the likelihood of a challenge in a number of ways [such as] Ensure that post-termination procedures are followed….Be candid with the employee…Respect the employee´s feelings…Respect the employee´s privacy…Obtain a release…Avoid inconsistent post-termination statements…Maintain relevant documents…Consider providing outplacement services..”
Read more in this About.com artilce.