Firing

There’s danger in every aspect of firing, from WARN Act layoffs and exit interviews to constructive discharge and more.

Learn how to fire an employee and sidestep wrongful termination lawsuits, with battle-tested firing procedures, and employment termination letters. At last, you can fire at will!

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Here’s a situation that should send you straight to your attorney’s office. If you fire an employee because you discovered her spouse works for the competition, you may be violating the marital status discrimination clause in the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).
Q. An employee has been with us for less than a year, so she isn’t yet eligible for FMLA leave. Last month she missed five days because her child had a high fever. She used available PTO for the time off. Last week, she was no-call/no-show for three days. She told the supervisor she had been hospitalized because of pregnancy complications and didn’t have access to a phone and was sedated. She provided a doctor’s note that released her to return to work, but stated that she may need to be put on bed rest. The supervisor would like to terminate her because we can’t afford to continue employing someone so unreliable. Can we do this?
Sometimes, it’s obvious that a disabled employee isn’t going to be able to perform her job, with or without accommodations. As long as you have documented your efforts to help, rest assured a court probably won’t fault you for terminating the employee.
Sometimes, it becomes apparent that something has to change in a workplace. When that’s the case, firing everyone and having them reapply for their jobs may be a viable approach, if a recent 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision is any indication.
You have no doubt heard that em­ployees who break the same rule should receive the same punishment. That’s true in most circumstances. However, nothing prevents employers from treating similarly situated employees differently if the facts warrant it. In those cases, however, details matter.
Employers want honest ­employees who don’t lie, cheat or steal. To encourage honesty, be sure your company has a policy requiring honesty. That way, it’s easy to terminate someone you believe has acted dishonorably.
The financially troubled Harrisburg University of Science and Tech­­nol­­ogy has asked a federal judge to dismiss a retaliation lawsuit filed by a former professor. She claims she was fired over criticism she and her husband leveled against university officials.
Sometimes, two employees who break the same rule don’t deserve exactly the same punishment. But employers must make sure they can explain the difference.
Employees who steal from their employers violate their duty of loyalty. That makes them ineligible for unemployment compensation. That’s true even if the theft is small. But you must be prepared with clear testimony if you want to contest the worker’s right to unemployment benefits.
In Minnesota, employees are supposed to be paid promptly and receive an accounting of their time worked. Failure to comply may mean you’ll have to pay a penalty.
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