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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Employees often mistakenly believe that if they complain to HR about discrimination or harassment, they somehow become untouchable. They assume that anything negative that happens shortly after must be retaliation. That’s simply not the case. If the employee breaks a rule, he’s not immune from the usual and customary punishment.

It’s certainly possible to terminate an employee who returns from FMLA leave—if you have good reasons un­­related to the FMLA.

Hey, it happens: Sometimes, employers mess up. But they can undo much of the damage by acting fast to fix mistakes. Take this case, in which a termination letter was sent by mistake while the disciplinary process was still under way. A quick explanation and retraction saved the day.

In HR, sometimes one just has to wait while disputes run their course—like when a terminated employee sues over claims that clearly have no basis in reality. You can’t ignore such a lawsuit, but you should push your attorney right away to resolve the situation.

Employees who have lost their jobs have very little to lose and everything to gain by suing their former employers. Your best defense when firing: Al­­ways carefully document a performance-related reason for the termination. That will trump all but the most egregious cases of supervisory expressions of bigotry.

Most lawsuits are not triggered by great injustices. Instead, simple management mistakes and perceived slights start the snowball of discontent rolling downhill toward the courtroom. Here are 12 of the biggest manager mistakes that harm an organization’s credibility in court.

Employees can’t be deprived of FMLA leave as long as they meet the law’s requirements for length of employment and hours worked and must deal with their own or a family member’s serious health condition. After FMLA leave has been approved, it’s a huge mistake to question employees about how they use their leave. Essentially, doing so may be interpreted as interference with the right to take leave.

What if you suspect a supervisor/subordinate relationship, but the two people deny it? You probably can’t do anything more than reiterate your workplace rule against it. If it turns out the supervisor lied, you can certainly terminate him or her—both for breaking the rule and then lying about it.
The economy is a shambles, and employers are doing everything they can to stay in business. That includes terminations, salary and wage cuts and temporary furloughs. Nearly every one of those moves carries litigation risk.  With little to lose, more and more employees are willing to stake bias claims, hoping to score a big settlement. Their allies are attorneys who will look for any reason to sue. What should employers do?

You never appreciate a good performer until you’ve fired a bad performer. That’s because bad performers take so much time and attention to manage. From the moment you sense that an employee isn’t working out—and you set in motion disciplinary steps—you have to imagine a judge and jury watching your every move. That way, you can stand behind your actions without feeling embarrassed or guilty.