If there’s no use-it-or-lose-it policy in place, employees can easily stockpile weeks of vacation or personal leave. Should they become ill, they may try to use that time as a substitute for FMLA leave. If an employee asks you to approve an especially long vacation, and you suspect the underlying reason may be a covered condition under the FMLA, beware automatically rejecting the request.
There’s danger in every aspect of firing, from WARN Act layoffs and exit interviews to constructive discharge and more.
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Employers get lots of leeway when it comes to terminating employees. For example, courts generally uphold firing someone for breaking a rule as long as the employer reasonably believed the employee broke the rule—even if it turns out he did not. But when it looks as if the employer tried to trick the employee into breaking a rule, judges won’t look the other way.
Employees who take FMLA leave to deal with their own serious health condition are entitled to reinstatement to their jobs or substantially identical ones when they return. But what if the employee isn’t ready to come back after 12 weeks? In that case, employers don’t have to reinstate the employee—at least not under the FMLA.
Employers have a tough call to make if an employee lands a short jail sentence. Discharging the worker may be the best option. But leniency may be more appropriate in other situations. If you can explain why you treated convicted employees differently, you should be legally OK.
Are you hearing that a supervisor is making less than flattering statements about a disabled employee or disabled individuals in general? Then it’s time to call in the supervisor and explain to her it has to stop. That’s especially true if the supervisor happens to have a disabled employee under her direction and recommends that the employee should be terminated.