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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When someone gets fired because a co-worker complained about discrimination, other employees may get upset. Frequently, they don’t know the back story and may ostracize the employee who originally complained about discrimination. That’s especially true if the terminated employee was well liked. However, courts generally won’t consider it an adverse employment action if workers give the complaining employee the “silent treatment.”

Courts understand reductions in force and recognize that companies sometimes have to make tough decisions. When an employer can show it had good reasons for cutting employees through a RIF, affected employees will have to come up with solid discrimination evidence early in the litigation game.

Two employees of a Sprint store chased down and subdued a shoplifter even though they were on break at the time. Heroic? Yes. But also a violation of Sprint company policy, and both men were fired. Employers are within their rights to set such policies, but make sure you enforce such policies consistently to avoid discrimination claims.
It’s pretty obvious that you should not fire an employee who just filed a discrimination claim. But is that rule sealed in cement? One court recently said, “Nope, not if the reason is really, really, really good enough.” So what’s “good enough?”

Federal employment laws can be terribly confusing, particularly because they often have different definitions for the size of a business that is exempt from the law. Use the following list to make sure you’re not spending time and money complying with laws that only apply to larger businesses.

Lots of employers have no-fault attendance policies, which allow a certain number of unexcused absences without any documentation and then punish employees who go beyond allowable limits. No-fault policies are fine … as long as they don’t penalize workers for taking time off that’s protected under the FMLA.

Believe it or not, some employees are under the impression they can use FMLA leave during the summer months to care for their minor children instead of sending them to summer camp or day care. That’s not true unless the child has a serious health condition that prevents participation in camp or day care. Otherwise, parents are expected to make conventional child care arrangements during the summer.

Q. After a recently terminated employee sued our company for discrimination, we undertook a forensic examination of her work-issued laptop. We found, saved in the cache of the web browser, e-mails she sent to her attorney from her web-based, personal and private e-mail account. Can we use these e-mails in the lawsuit?

Online social networking sites provide a variety of benefits to organizations. They can help you collect industry-based knowledge, reach new customers, build your brand and publicize your company’s name and reputation. But those benefits come with their fair share of legal risks. You need a comprehensive social media policy to guide employees on your expectations about their online behavior.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. What should you do if you learn one of your employees brandished a gun and threatened suicide, but a doctor released him back to work? Shouldn’t you be concerned about safety? What other kinds of liability might you face?
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