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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An employer fired a worker just six weeks after she returned from FMLA leave. Six weeks is like a nanosecond on the retaliation stopwatch. But the court still dismissed the case. Why?

Under the massive new federal economic stimulus law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), employees who suffer an “involuntary termination” have to pay just 35% of the cost of COBRA continuation health care coverage. But what does “involuntary termination” mean?

Employees who lose their jobs have very little to lose by making an appointment with an employment lawyer. To prepare for possible surprises, you should do what a good employment attorney does—look for hidden discrimination in your workplace.

Ohio employees who are discharged for just cause aren’t entitled to unemployment compensation payments. But Ohio courts frequently hesitate to cut off unemployment benefits for one-time conduct that may be outrageous—as long as the employee doesn’t have a history of past disciplinary problems and the employer has a progressive discipline program it didn’t use.

These are tough economic times, and employers can’t be blamed for cost-cutting measures such as reductions in force. But before you act to trim your labor burden, prepare solid evidence showing exactly why you must cut those costs. You need a clear, written record, since those who participated in the decision-making may not be around to testify if the layoffs are challenged in lawsuits.

Even if someone else in the management hierarchy actually terminates an employee, a supervisor who’s seemingly had it in for the employee can still cause a world of legal headaches for the employer. This is the so-called “cat’s paw” legal theory, which holds that employers are liable if they approve a recommendation that is based on illegal motives such as retaliation.

Here’s added incentive to handle terminations and other employment actions at the local level. When employees sue, their attorneys often look to expand the lawsuit beyond one person. They’re trying to find larger patterns of discrimination. This strategy can sometimes succeed if higher-ups in the company made the decision and based it on a common policy or framework.

Employers often get into trouble when they punish someone who has filed an internal harassment or discrimination complaint. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discipline employees for legitimate reasons just because they filed an unrelated complaint. The key is being able to show a good reason for your actions.

Employees who are fired have little to lose and everything to gain by filing a discrimination lawsuit. That’s why you should be prepared to show exactly why you terminated an employee and how the punishment fit the crime—especially if others kept their jobs after similar violations.

Q. Is an employer required to pay workers for their unused vacation days when they resign or are terminated?

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