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!

If you offer last-chance agreements instead of immediately firing employees, you can impose seemingly draconian measures without worrying about a lawsuit. If you later terminate an employee for violating agreement terms, most courts will take your side.

Employees who suspect their employers are trying to get them to leave voluntarily instead of firing them outright sometimes do quit. Then they turn around and sue under the theory of “constructive discharge.” Essentially, they argue their employer made their lives so miserable they had no choice but to resign. Fortunately for employers, courts are fairly strict in how they view constructive discharges.

Q. We are downsizing and letting go a long-time employee. We want to help her out by giving her a severance package. What should we consider?

Minneapolis-based Target, the nation’s second largest discount retailer, has announced it will cut 1,000 jobs in Minneapolis alone. Those cuts include 400 open but unfilled positions, in addition to 600 layoffs.

If you’re serious about wiping out sexual and other forms of harassment in your workplace, consider adopting a zero-tolerance policy for failing to report suspected or known harassment. By readily disciplining those who ignore that rule, you can create a new climate in which employees really believe you take harassment seriously.

Q. We’re closing our doors and firing all of our employees. As president, I am considering not paying my employees their final paychecks, even though they have earned that pay. Is this a risk?

Best Buy, the nation’s largest electronics retailer, will cut an undisclosed number of jobs at its Richfield headquarters. The news comes after 500 employees already left under a voluntary buyout program.

Tell managers and supervisors not to embellish the reasons for discharging an employee. If they do, they risk the potential for a defamation lawsuit. That may be true even if the former employee is compelled to repeat the allegedly false information.

Issue: Poorly written layoff letters can open your organization to legal action. No matter how you write layoff letters, they are bound to anger employees, especially if the employees don’t see it coming. Don’t give irate employees legal ammunition by writing misleading, inaccurate or insensitive layoff letters. Action: Create notices that explain the layoff in the most straightforward, respectful manner possible. To avoid legal action, think of layoff letters as informal legal documents that include the following:

The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates how your company performs a job background check on applicants. Contrary to popular belief, this federal law doesn’t just cover credit checks. It covers any background report, such as driving records and criminal histories obtained from a “consumer reporting agency.”