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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Q. You’ve written that we can’t fire employees for their “concerted activity,” like talking about pay or bosses, and we may have to live with certain complaining via social media. But are there limits?
GameStop, the video-game retailer, fired an employee recently for tweeting two pictures of himself “planking” on the store counter and between two merchandise kiosks. GameStop has a policy that says employees can be terminated for online activity that puts the company in a bad light.
When it comes to bringing legal claims, employees feel emboldened when they can paint you into a “my word against yours” corner. But they don’t feel as comfortable—and likely won’t sue—when they’re facing a case of their word against two representatives from management.
Sometimes, you have no choice but to fire an employee. Every one of those discharges is a fresh chance to be sued by a disgruntled former employee. For each type of termination, there are some common ways employers can make sure they can defend themselves if challenged.
Employers must make sure they hand out similar punishment for similar misconduct, regardless of the race of the employee—or any publicity that might surround the case.

Here’s a situation that many HR professionals dread: An employee complains about discrimination and you fix the problem. Then there are workplace changes and it looks as if the employee will lose her job. Should you worry about retaliation? Not so much that you start treating the employee with kid gloves.

Make sure you document exactly when and why you decided to terminate an employee, even if you must wait until later to tell the employee.

The North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) prohibits retaliation when employees engage in protected activity at work. Since REDA protects employees, some employers have argued that the law doesn’t apply to former em­­ployees. It does.

Q. Can we rely on a release of all employment claims when terminating a military service member or veteran?
Employers have a right to expect em­­ployees to follow the work rules laid out for them. Employees who are terminated for breaking those rules won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation because it was their fault they were discharged.
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