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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Boorish behavior and vulgar words are on the rise in U.S. workplaces. In fact, 38% of women say they’ve heard inappropriate sexual innuendoes and taunts in the workplace—up from 22% the year before. Such behavior can crush morale and increase turnover. Advice: Adopt a civility policy separate from your harassment policy.

The cost cutting and staff reductions may not be completely over, but as the economy begins its recovery, HR will be dealing with new challenges in 2010. Still, the flush workplace of 2006 isn’t likely to rush back into vogue. In fact, the historic recession has made a lasting impression on many organizations, which could hang onto the lessons they learned while surviving lean times. Here are 10 trends to expect in the coming year, plus tips and tools to help you respond to each:

Older employees who believe a supervisor is trying to get rid of them because they’re too old can voluntarily retire—and then turn around and sue their former employer. By citing the so-called constructive discharge theory, they can show they had no choice but to quit.

Retail giant Sears will pay $6.2 million to disabled workers it refused to accommodate. The EEOC sued Sears after uncovering more than 100 employees who claim the company refused to discuss accommodations before firing them.

When supervisors and managers have to deal with an employee they perceive as trouble, emotions can take over. That’s bad news. Warn them that anytime they have to deliver bad news to an employee—for example, while disciplining or firing—they must refrain from making smart-aleck comments. Wisecracks are too easy to misinterpret, especially if the employee already thinks the employer is out to get him.

Some managers and supervisors can’t leave well enough alone after they terminate an employee. When the former employee files a lawsuit, they try to find a way to strike back. That can be a disaster! That’s why you must make sure bosses understand the consequences that may flow from a single act of vengeance or anger.

Employees who have worked for their employers for decades often assume that if they are fired, it must be because of their advancing age. Then they sue, alleging age discrimination. Because they have been employed for so long, they usually don’t have any trouble showing that they were qualified for their job. That puts the burden on employers to prove they had a sound reason for the termination.

In August 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed regulation that would rescind the “no-match rule” that for years has been the centerpiece of the government’s effort to enforce laws banning employment of illegal immigrants. The no-match rule made employers responsible for resolving discrepancies when employees presented mismatched Social Security numbers on employment eligibility verification Form I-9. DHS wants to rescind the no-match rule in order to emphasize its E-Verify program ...

Here’s one of the easiest ways to reduce your chances of losing a race discrimination lawsuit: Make sure the same person or group who chose to hire an employee in the first place also makes the decision to terminate her. That makes it much harder for the employee to show she was fired for a discriminatory reason.

Do you have a progressive disciplinary system? Don’t short-circuit it!

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