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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Courts hesitate to second-guess an employer’s decision to cut staff for economic reasons. Generally, employees have to challenge such decisions head on, with direct evidence of discrimination. That’s hard to do.

Most lawsuits are not triggered by great injustices. Instead, simple management mistakes and perceived slights start the snowball of discontent rolling downhill toward the courtroom. Here are 12 of the biggest manager mistakes that harm an organization’s credibility in court.

Employees can’t be deprived of FMLA leave as long as they meet the law’s requirements for length of employment and hours worked and must deal with their own or a family member’s serious health condition. After FMLA leave has been approved, it’s a huge mistake to question employees about how they use their leave. Essentially, doing so may be interpreted as interference with the right to take leave.

What if you suspect a supervisor/subordinate relationship, but the two people deny it? You probably can’t do anything more than reiterate your workplace rule against it. If it turns out the supervisor lied, you can certainly terminate him or her—both for breaking the rule and then lying about it.
The economy is a shambles, and employers are doing everything they can to stay in business. That includes terminations, salary and wage cuts and temporary furloughs. Nearly every one of those moves carries litigation risk.  With little to lose, more and more employees are willing to stake bias claims, hoping to score a big settlement. Their allies are attorneys who will look for any reason to sue. What should employers do?

You never appreciate a good performer until you’ve fired a bad performer. That’s because bad performers take so much time and attention to manage. From the moment you sense that an employee isn’t working out—and you set in motion disciplinary steps—you have to imagine a judge and jury watching your every move. That way, you can stand behind your actions without feeling embarrassed or guilty.

Treading carefully on today’s uncertain social media terrain, many employers might hesitate to punish employees for posting workplace comments online. But the National Labor Relations Board recently found in several scenarios that employers didn’t violate the National Labor Relations Act when they terminated or disciplined the employees.
You’ve told managers before, now tell ’em again: Email may seem like private communication, but it really isn’t. Anything a manager says in an email may become evidence in a lawsuit.
A new law allows the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) to levy fines of at least $5,000 against employers that misclassify workers and requires the em­­ployers to publicize their violations on their company websites. Em­­ployers face penalties as high as $25,000 for willfully misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
Want to avoid needless and ex­­pensive lawsuits? One good place to start is by encouraging respect and civility. That’s because sometimes hurt feelings are enough to spur a lawsuit.
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