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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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?

Akron-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber faces charges of disability discrimination at a plant in North Carolina after it terminated a woman because she suffers from a menstrual bleeding disorder, menorrhagia.
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.
Ohio law allows individuals to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress, including cases that arise from work-related incidents. Fortunately for ­employers, uncaring or insensitive incidents don’t qualify. The circumstances must be truly outrageous.

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.

Employees who need time off for childbirth but who aren’t eligible for FMLA leave aren’t entitled to additional protection under Ohio law. You can terminate the employee if your leave policies don’t provide another way to take time off. But if the former employee is ready to return after childbirth, beware rejecting her if she tries to reapply for an open position.

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.

Whenever an employee reveals a disability, employers must explore reasonable accommodations. The EEOC clearly doesn’t consider it reasonable to send an employee home and then fire him, as the following case shows.