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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Supervisors sometimes make the mistake—often during the hiring process or after employees pass a 60-day post-hire period—of using the term “permanent” when discussing their jobs. That essentially promises the person a job for life and it can destroy their at-will status.
New York City’s Princeton Club faces a lawsuit alleging it terminated a long-time employee because of her accent. The employee claims the club fired her after nearly 30 years of service because a new general manager found Hispanic accents “embarrassing.”

When faced with discipline and the possibility of getting fired, some employees try to revive old complaints that have long since been resolved. They hope that resurrecting an old complaint will make their employer think twice about terminating. But employers are entitled to get work done. Don’t let a ploy like this prevent legitimate and necessary discipline.

Here’s a case that shows how not to handle a discharge based on alleged wrongdoing on the part of a super­visor and his subordinate.
When an employee senses that she may be in trouble and about to lose her job, she may begin to review the last year or so with an eye toward filing a pre-emptory lawsuit. If she suddenly remembers alleged acts of discrimination, she’s sure to complain. But she won’t win in the end if her employer can show it made the decision to fire her before she ever complained.
When Long Island’s Jones Beach re­­quired its lifeguards to wear Speedo swimsuits for an annual swimming test in 2007, it chafed 61-year-old Roy Lester in more ways than one. He re­­fused to don the skimpy trunks for his test. The beach patrol fired Lester for in­­subordination.
An Arab-American of Moroccan descent has charged consulting giant PwC (formerly Pricewaters­houseCoopers) with discrimination and retaliation after it fired him and allegedly orchestrated his firing from another firm.

A supervisor asks a worker to move some heavy boxes, which isn’t one of the worker’s usual duties. The worker refuses, claiming physical problems prevent him from doing so. What should the supervisor do? Fire him for insubordination?

It’s a simple fact: You can’t tell which of your employees might sue you one day or for what reason. Your only real protection is fairness. If you treat all employees equally and provide them with the same opportunities, training and discipline, chances are any lawsuit will eventually be dismissed.

Some schoolyard bullies grow into workplace bullies. In most cases, their behavior won’t lead to a lawsuit. But that’s not always the case.
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