Sometimes, it’s obvious early on that a new employee isn’t working out. Firing such an employee won’t cause legal trouble as long as you based the call on previously set performance standards, job-related testing or some other impartial evaluation process.
Recent case: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security hired Appapilla Rajendra to inspect plants and agricultural products. He had to pass a test before ending his initial term and becoming a regular employee.
He sued for discrimination when he failed and was terminated. But he lost when he couldn’t offer any proof that the test was bogus or that anyone targeted him due to his background or race. (Rajendra v. Chertoff, No. 07-5988, DC NJ, 2009)
Final note: The person who made the hiring decision should make the firing decision too. Courts rarely believe discrimination allegations in such cases.