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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A former employee at a North Carolina Walmart has lost a novel claim that could have opened the litigation floodgates in North Carolina and destroyed the at-will employment concept. He sued, alleging he had been forced to reveal why he had been fired, which in effect amounted to self-defamation.
The 11th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals has refused to recognize veterans as a protected class under either Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act or under the Florida Civil Rights Act. That means claims based on military service must generally be brought under the Uniformed Serv­ices Em­ployment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Some employees are less than honest about their absences. From the “Monday morning flu” to claiming time off for nonexistent medical treatment, employees can get creative. But what can you do if you find out later that an employee has lied to get time off? Fire him for misrepresentation.

The former head of security at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens has filed a lawsuit claiming the institution discriminates against blacks, and that he was fired in part because of his age.

Employees who take FMLA leave are usually eligible for reinstatement, but not always. If you were going to eliminate the position anyway, the employee may be out of luck. Before you deny reinstatement, be sure you can clearly show that the position was cut for reasons completely unrelated to the employee’s FMLA leave.

Capping what State House officials called a “collaborative model for other states to follow,” Gov. Pat Quinn signed an education overhaul bill that makes it easier for school districts to fire teachers and strips many seniority protections teachers had. Setting the new legislation apart is the support it garnered from the powerful Chicago Teachers Union.

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) can help turn around subpar employees. But if you use PIPs, make sure you implement them equitably. For example, if you place a sales­person on a PIP to raise falling sales, then institute a PIP for everyone whose sales have fallen to the same level. That’s especially important if one of the employees is about to take FMLA leave or is pregnant.

In today’s tough economy, it’s sometimes necessary to terminate em­­ployees. That may be especially true when new technology makes it easier to perform some tasks, reducing the need for employees.

If there’s no use-it-or-lose-it policy in place, employees can easily stockpile weeks of vacation or personal leave. Should they become ill, they may try to use that time as a substitute for FMLA leave. If an employee asks you to approve an especially long vacation, and you suspect the underlying reason may be a covered condition under the FMLA, beware automatically rejecting the request.

Employers get lots of leeway when it comes to terminating employees. For example, courts generally uphold firing someone for breaking a rule as long as the employer reasonably believed the employee broke the rule—even if it turns out he did not. But when it looks as if the employer tried to trick the employee into breaking a rule, judges won’t look the other way.

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