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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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.

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.

You probably know you must document all disciplinary actions. Take that a step further by categorizing the discipline.
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.
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.
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 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.

Employers have the right to expect their employees to be honest. When an employee is fired for lying about being sick and missing work, the employer won’t be liable for unemployment compensation payments.
You’ll rarely lose a termination-related lawsuit if your handbook contains clear rules that you follow consistently. That’s because when everyone who breaks the same rule is equitably disciplined, fired employees will have a hard time finding ­workers outside their protected class who were treated more favorably than they were.

Illinois employees are protected from retaliation for filing workers’ compensation claims. Protection kicks in when a claim is actually filed or when the employer knows the employee was injured and needs medical care. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fire an injured employee for reasons wholly unrelated to the injury.