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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Q. We have an employee whom we have classified as exempt, but wants to be classified as nonexempt and earn overtime. Frankly, she’s become a pain about the whole thing. Can we just fire her?

Companies that fire lots of employees get sued for discrimination by many of the castoffs. But all those terminations may be an indication of employee/management personality conflicts, not discrimination.

Employers know they are not supposed to discriminate against employees based on protected characteristics such as race, age or sex. But HR can’t be everywhere, and in large organizations, it may be hard to monitor equal treatment. A centralized discipline-tracking system can help you check for possible hidden discrimination by comparing proposed discipline against past discipline.

A Galveston County registered nurse is suing the University of Texas Medical Branch, arguing that she was discharged from her job because of her race.

Courts seldom second-guess firing decisions if employers can articulate solid reasons for the discharge—and take the time to document their decision-making processes. That’s because employees who want to challenge their employer’s termination decisions have to raise suspicions that the employer’s reason was not credible and that it wasn’t really a motivating factor in the decision.

Supervisors who want to hand-select a particular employee for a job may be tempted to play fast and loose with the company promotion process. Watch out!

Reductions in force are risky, so plan them carefully. Before you try to explain why you’re letting certain employees go, make sure your reasons make sense.

When an employee is discharged shortly after returning from FMLA leave, she may charge retaliation. The timing alone may be enough to send the case to trial. If an employer has a solid reason for the firing, however, it can win.

Many sexual harassment complaints turn out to be much ado about very little. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can close the case and forget about the whole thing. That can be especially dangerous if the person about whom the complaint was made is a supervisor who still has authority over the employee who complained. Here’s how to handle the aftermath of a closed harassment complaint:

Q. We had to terminate an employee for failure to adequately perform his job responsibilities. Can we deny him the COBRA subsidy because the termination was not a layoff or a result of the economy?

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