If you sometimes agonize over firing an employee for fear of litigation, relax. As long as you act honestly, the employee probably can’t successfully sue.
Recent case: Nashwa Deabes lost her job at a GNC store while she was on vacation because the company said she didn’t have prior approval for the time off. She sued, claiming the real reason she was fired was national-origin discrimination.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed her case. It said Deabes’ evidence merely cast some doubt about the company’s actions. She was able to show that GNC may have made a mistake when it terminated her for not being authorized to take leave. But a mistake like that couldn’t prove bias unless there was other evidence that her national origin was somehow a factor. (Deabes v. GNC, No. 10-1742, 2nd Cir., 2011)
- Employees can refuse to work due to safety fears, even at nonunion site
- Any stereotypes of workers--even positive ones--can spark discrimination lawsuits
- Don't sugarcoat reason for termination
- Beware firing after employee files workers' comp claim
- How risky is it to fire a pregnant employee having attendance problems?