If you have hiring and firing responsibilities, you may worry from time to time whether you could be held personally liable for your decisions. Now a Texas appeals court has answered that question—at least in situations involving the firing of someone who refuses to engage in an act she believes is illegal. The court said there is no personal liability.
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!
Here’s a new worry for Ohio HR pros who play a role in deciding whether to fire employees: You could end up being sued personally if it turns out that the discharge was wrongful under Ohio’s public policy exception to at-will employment. That means your own assets—not just the company’s—are at risk. Here’s how it works:
The Toledo City Council voted to pay $450,000 to settle a race discrimination and wrongful-termination lawsuit brought by two former city employees. That makes for a happy ending to a two-year legal odyssey for Office of Affirmative Action Director Perlean Griffin, and executive director of the city’s Youth Commission Dwayne Moorehead, who served under former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.
Some employees don’t respond well to corrective discipline. They may become angry and combative. You don’t have to put up with that sort of behavior. In fact, you can use that reaction as a valid termination reason.
Here’s a twist, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 Gross v. FBL Financial Services age discrimination decision. The court ruled that employees have to show that “but for” their age, their employer wouldn’t have fired them.
Generally, Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state where employers can fire employees for any nondiscriminatory reason. But Pennsylvania also allows lawsuits for wrongful discharge based on public-policy concerns. Those public policies include the right not to be fired for reporting company safety violations that could harm the public.
Some employees who believe they’ve been mistreated get so angry that they begin airing their grievances to co-workers. That can be a firing offense. Although you can’t ban employees from talking about wages or other conditions of employment, you can prohibit harassing conduct.
Sometimes, employees get angry over some real or imagined slight and walk out. To make sure they really did quit and can’t claim constructive discharge, document your efforts to determine what happened.