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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How much your organization pays for unemployment in­­surance is based, in part, on how many of your former employees have successfully filed claims against you. Under­standing who is eligible for unemployment benefits and who isn’t can go a long way toward keeping insurance rates low. It starts with how you terminate an employee.

What’s weirder: Actor James Franco earning a D in a drama class, or a NYU professor alleging he got the ax for ­giving Franco the lousy grade? José Angel Santana, who taught Franco in a 2010 directing class, says the university was so eager to please its star student that it retaliated when Santana issued the low grade.

An employee has sued for religious discimination after he was fired from a plastics plant for refusing to wear a sticker saying 666, noting the number of days the plant has gone accident-free. The employee noted his “sincere religious belief that to wear the number 666 would be to accept the mark of the beast and be condemned to hell.”

Employers usually don’t have a problem terminating an em­­ployee for poor performance if the employee has never raised any kind of discrimination claim. But somehow, as soon as an employee goes to the EEOC (or even just HR) with a complaint, the same employer doesn’t know what to do. Should you terminate the em­­ployee and face a potential retaliation suit?

It’s impossible to know if a termination will lead a former employee to sue for discrimination. That’s why it’s crucial to enforce all your rules equitably. You don’t want an employee to be able to say that someone else broke the same rule without receiving harsh punishment.
The same individual who hired an employee should also fire that em­­­ployee if necessary. Courts typically reason that no prejudiced person would hire someone and then later fire him because of discrimination, having known all along about the employee’s protected characteristics.
Here’s a tip for handling a difficult and argumentative employee. If she tells her supervisors she doesn’t like her job, wants to avoid some tasks and otherwise doesn’t seem interested in progressing, note her lousy attitude.

Occasionally, you’ll run across an employee who has a hard time performing up to expectations and won’t accept suggestions to improve. If he belongs to a protected class, you may worry about a lawsuit if you terminate him. That shouldn’t be a problem if you take the time to document problems before termination.

The EEOC has filed suit against Medi­­cal Specialties Inc., alleging it discriminated against Evelyn Lock­­­­­­hart because of her religion. She is a member of a Christian denomination whose practitioners are forbidden to work on certain days.

A Texas employee of TIAA-CREF is suing the retirement fund giant after she was fired for allegedly sharing her computer password with a co-worker. In June 2011, she resigned to avoid being fired for the offense.
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