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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Employers that keep detailed disciplinary records showing exactly why an employee was disciplined are much more likely to win lawsuits. That makes it harder for an employee to argue he was singled out for unfair, discriminatory punishment.

The North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act outlaws discharging em­­ployees for filing workers’ compensation claims. It’s a protected activity. Equally illegal: Jumping the gun by firing employees before they ­actually fill out the workers’ compensation paperwork.

Employers have an obligation to make sure employees know what kind of performance is expected of them. Under no circumstances should you wait until you’re ready to discharge the employee to put criticism in writing. That creates the suspicion that you came up with reasons as a cover for illegal discrimination.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said it fired Steve Barto from his job as an environmental group manager because he intimidated employees, used racial slurs and behaved erratically. When Barto sued the DEP for allegedly violating his civil rights, he painted a different picture.

File this one under “Ironic.” A Hamilton-based health care company whose motto is “The people with a heart” has had to settle an EEOC lawsuit that charged it with illegally firing a disabled employee.
You probably know you must document all disciplinary actions. Take that a step further by categorizing the discipline.

You may assume that an employee who obviously isn’t meeting expectations will simply go away when you fire him. Don’t bet on it. He’ll probably apply for unemployment. Be prepared to show exactly why you terminated him.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent retaliation lawsuits is to follow up with the employee who complained. Remind her that you won’t tolerate retaliation, and be sure to check back at least once following the investigation.
Highmark Blue Shield has terminated its CEO in the wake of criminal charges that he attacked the husband of a former employee with whom he was having an affair.
Never automatically assume an employee who is performing well is disabled—even if you observe what you think are signs of a disability. It could mean losing big if the employee sues.
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