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!
Discrimination can creep into the workplace, even if on the surface there’s nothing blatantly offensive going on. There are still supervisors who treat subordinates poorly because of race or some other protected characteristic. That’s why HR should exercise caution before authorizing discipline against an employee who is meeting concrete goals like sales figures, but is being criticized for more general problems.
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.
Never ignore an employee lawsuit, even if you think it is frivolous. Instead, prepare to defend yourself as soon as possible. That way, you can push for a quick dismissal if it’s clear the employee has no case.
Here’s an important reminder for HR professionals handling employee discipline: If the disciplinary process is well under way—and you believe that the proposed discipline is fair, reasonable and based on facts—there’s no need to stop the process just because the employee files an internal discrimination complaint.
Think twice before firing a good employee who has complained. If she can prove she earned excellent reviews and had good attendance, she may win a jury trial based on timing alone.
Some disabled employees never tell employers about their conditions—even if their disability could affect performance. And of course you know you shouldn’t treat employees as disabled unless they claim a disability. But what if you fire someone for poor performance?
Q. I would like to fire an employee who is unpleasant to work with. We simply don’t “click.” Do I have to have cause to terminate him?
Employees fired for willful misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. If you terminate someone for breaking a workplace rule, be prepared to prove that the employee knew about the rule and understood it.
A white man who was fired from his management position at a McKinney manufacturer is suing his former employer for reverse discrimination, claiming he was let go to clear the way for a black employee to take the job.
No one likes being accused of a criminal offense if they are innocent. Be careful about making such accusations publicly—you could end up being sued for defamation or intentional infliction of emotional distress. But that doesn’t mean you can’t investigate apparently missing funds and similar, possibly criminal cases.