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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You can’t prevent every lawsuit over a discharge, but you can be prepared. That preparation includes making sure you can point to solid, performance-based reasons for every termination. Lay the groundwork first with a performance improvement plan (PIP) and you will be well on your way to showing the court your decision was based on objective, measurable business reasons rather than some kind of prejudice or discrimination.
Sometimes, business conditions require companies to implement reductions in force. Before you put your HR seal of approval on who stays and who goes, be sure that hidden discrimination isn’t influencing the decisions.

Only when surveillance video surfaced in early September of football player Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée did the team decide it was time to terminate him. What would your organization do if one of your employees were identified as a domestic abuser?

Q. I am the owner of several industrial facilities, but recent financial crises have forced me to have to shut down two of these plants. These closings and subsequent layoffs will affect about 600 employees. Am I re­­quired to notify the employees before laying them off?
Sometimes, workplace relationships deteriorate beyond repair. That’s especially true if an employee resorts to angry outbursts or even threats. That’s when it’s time to act.
Sometimes, it seems as if anybody can sue their current or former em­­ployer and get a day in court. It’s true, anyone is welcome to fill out the blank complaint forms that courts make available to the public. But spurious complaints like this one are usually quickly dismissed.
If an employer can present a coherent and rational explanation for why economics—not retaliation—drove a RIF decision, chances are a court won’t second-guess it.
If a disabled employee is about to get the ax for reasons that have nothing to do with her condition, don’t make any comments about her health. Otherwise, it could look like you really fired her because she is disabled—and it could become the basis for a disability discrimination lawsuit.

Some jobs, both in government and in the private sector, require a security clearance from a government agency. Without the proper security clearance, employees aren’t allowed to view sensitive documents. In those cases, a lost security clearance can mean a lost job—with no ability to challenge the termination on discrimination grounds.

Offering the option to resign or retire instead of facing an investigation into alleged wrongdoing doesn’t always block a later lawsuit if the employee accepts—but it usually does. Be prepared to show the resignation or retirement was truly voluntary.
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