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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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Here’s something to remember when you’re worried about firing someone because you might get sued: Judges don’t want to run HR departments. As long as HR acts honestly and believes the employee should be fired because she broke a company rule, chances are a lawsuit won’t ­succeed.

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.

Courts are suspicious when em­ployees who have recently returned from FMLA leave are suddenly fired. Yet, chances are you will at some point have to terminate an employee following FMLA leave. Just make sure you can explain why, backed up by solid and contemporaneous documentation.
Employees who have been fired generally qualify for unemployment benefits unless they were terminated for misconduct. But “misconduct” is broadly defined. It can even include rude or snippy behavior that shows an employee doesn’t really care.

The EEOC is suing Pantego-based Tideland Electric Membership Corp., claiming it failed to accommodate a disabled employee. Jeffrey Erdman suffers from a chronic pain condition, but with the help of prescription painkillers, he was able to perform his job as an apprentice lineman. However, when Tideland learned of Erdman’s condition and the narcotic prescribed for his pain, it fired him.

The Supreme Court of Ohio has just created a new avenue for at-will employees who are discharged and want to claim their firing violates public policy. In the following case, the court ruled that employees who are fired after reporting an on-the-job injury but before they have a chance to file a workers’ compensation claim can sue for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.
Employers that can show they fired an employee for violating a company policy will generally win any subsequent lawsuit—if they can show they reasonably believed that’s what happened. It doesn’t matter if later it turns out the employer was wrong.
Managers at the Dillard’s department store in Cary have learned the hard way that forcing out older workers simply because of their age doesn’t pay.
Employees who sue but can’t show they suffered any monetary damages sometimes claim mental distress instead. Fortunately, courts don’t just take their word it, especially if the employee claims she had to undergo psychiatric treatment.
Q. We recently fired an employee because of insubordination and anger-management issues. The termination meeting, not surprisingly, didn’t go well and the employee became very agitated. He made some statements that could be interpreted as vague threats against his supervisor and our company. Is there anything we can or should do to protect ourselves from this former employee?
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