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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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If you suspect an employee has been stealing, you can and should discipline him. You don’t need absolute and irrefutable proof. It’s enough that you reasonably believed he stole.

Q. We need to cut costs, and have started to explore trimming our staff, starting with those who earn far more than other employees. Are there any dangers in doing so? Can we legally fire a high-earner because of his salary?

Q. An employee frequently comes in late or is absent because of car troubles. Is this a justifiable reason for termination? To avoid this issue in the future, can we ask applicants if they have a reliable means of transportation to get to work?

When an employee takes FMLA leave because her physician says she’s too sick to work and needs to stay home, it’s natural to assume she’ll follow the doctor’s orders. But what if you discover that she isn’t—and is instead working for someone else during her leave? Can you terminate her? Of course.

Employees are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits if they were fired for creating a hostile work environment. That usually amounts to willful misconduct, which disqualifies them from collecting unemployment. But not every crude or stupid action is serious enough to bar benefits, as this case shows.

Q. We recently terminated an employee. He claims he is legally entitled to a letter outlining the reasons for his discharge. Is he correct?

Q. We recently fired a veteran sales representative on short notice. He still has a new iPad that we purchased to help make sales presentations. We have repeatedly asked him to return the iPad, but he is ignoring our requests. Can we now just deduct the cost from his last paycheck?

Some employees assume that complaining about harassment or discrimination will protect them from being disciplined. They may have heard or read that the fear of a retaliation lawsuit will make employers so gun-shy that they won’t crack down on misbehavior. Don’t let employees handcuff you like that.

Lifeguard Tomas Lopez was perched atop his chair at Hallandale Beach on July 1 when he heard calls for help. He sprinted down the beach, dove into the Atlantic and helped rescue a man who was struggling in the surf. The swimmer survived; the lifeguard’s job did not ...
Smart employers have policies that require supervisors to document all discipline. That documentation can come in handy if a discharged employee decides to sue. The fact is, employers usually win lawsuits if they show they had a legitimate reason for an employment decision.
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