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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You won’t find many employers extolling the upsides of having a unionized workforce, but there is one advantage. If your union contract provides for a probationary period before an employee becomes a permanent part of your workforce, you may have more discretion in how you discipline the new em­­ployee.

Much as you would like to, you can’t control every statement that comes out of supervisors’ mouths. Someday, someone somewhere within your organization will utter an ethnic comment or slur. That doesn’t have to become the basis for a successful lawsuit—as long as you have a track record of treating all employees fairly.

Q. One of our employee’s job performance no longer meets our standards. While she used to be a good worker, she’s now making a lot of errors, coming in late from time to time and not getting along with her co-workers ... If we fire her for poor performance—which we would consider termination for cause—will she be eligible to collect unemployment compensation?
Some whistle-blowing employees think they can’t be disciplined if they report alleged wrongdoing to authorities or upper management. That’s not true. Employers can always discipline employees who break rules or perform poorly. The key is fairness and equal treatment.

Employees who believe they have been disciplined more severely than co-workers may blame the disparity on some form of discrimination. They may think that their age, sex, national origin or some other protected characteristic is the real reason. Even if you know you haven’t been biased, be prepared for the accusation.

If you want to fire someone for misconduct, here’s a good reason not to drag your feet on it. If the delay is too long between the alleged misconduct and the termination, the employee may get unemployment compensation.
The EEOC is suing Bank of America, alleging it violated the ADA by firing a visually impaired worker after one day on the job at one of its Chicago locations.
Supervisors sometimes say incredibly dumb things. But those remarks won’t necessarily create liability—if you have carefully documented employee performance.

File it under “Ironic.” The Scooter Store faces EEOC charges that it failed to accommodate an employee who had a hard time getting around because of an injured knee. The New Braunfels-based chain sells motorized scooters and power chairs for people with limited mobility.

It’s true that at-will employees can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, as long as that reason isn’t discriminatory. Many employers therefore conclude that they don’t have to tell an employee why he’s being let go. But some even conclude they don’t have to document the reason, either. That can be a big mistake.

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