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!
GameStop, the video-game retailer, fired an employee recently for tweeting two pictures of himself “planking” on the store counter and between two merchandise kiosks. GameStop has a policy that says employees can be terminated for online activity that puts the company in a bad light.
When it comes to bringing legal claims, employees feel emboldened when they can paint you into a “my word against yours” corner. But they don’t feel as comfortable—and likely won’t sue—when they’re facing a case of their word against two representatives from management.
Sometimes, you have no choice but to fire an employee. Every one of those discharges is a fresh chance to be sued by a disgruntled former employee. For each type of termination, there are some common ways employers can make sure they can defend themselves if challenged.
Employers must make sure they hand out similar punishment for similar misconduct, regardless of the race of the employee—or any publicity that might surround the case.
Here’s a caution about workplace logistics such as office assignments, work schedules and other supervisor actions that members of a particular protected class could view as hostile: If the result is any kind of workforce “segregation,” make sure you have a good underlying business reason that has nothing to do with race, sex, etc.
Here’s a situation that many HR professionals dread: An employee complains about discrimination and you fix the problem. Then there are workplace changes and it looks as if the employee will lose her job. Should you worry about retaliation? Not so much that you start treating the employee with kid gloves.
The North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) prohibits retaliation when employees engage in protected activity at work. Since REDA protects employees, some employers have argued that the law doesn’t apply to former employees. It does.
Employers have a right to expect employees to follow the work rules laid out for them. Employees who are terminated for breaking those rules won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation because it was their fault they were discharged.
Some employees need FMLA leave to cope with work stress. But that doesn’t mean that employers can’t punish someone who makes threats.
You can take steps to ensure that most employee lawsuits will fail, especially when it comes to discipline. The key is to make sure similar misconduct yields similar punishment, regardless of the employee’s race, sex, age or other protected characteristic. It’s also critical for HR to track discipline carefully.