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 school employee has lost her case against the school district after it fired her for testing positive for illegal drugs. She had argued she was forced to undergo drug testing on the threat of losing her job and that the testing violated her right to privacy and right to be free from unreasonable searches under the U.S. Constitution.
HR pros spend a lot of their time ensuring that their companies comply with the law so they don’t wind up in court and lose big bucks to a jury verdict. But more and more, they find themselves defending not their employers’ bottom lines, but their own bank accounts. How big is the risk? Try six figures—or more.
An employee at Capital Title of Texas refused her boss's request to dye her gray hair and was fired. As you can guess, she sued for age discrimination and is awaiting her day in court … probably in front of a gray-haired judge.
When employees carry a chip on their shoulders, they may see dis­crimination in acts that are simply nor­mal workplace behavior. For­tu­nately, courts won’t allow dis­crimi­nation cases to go to trial if they’re based on nothing more than vague “feelings.”

Employees who take FMLA leave to deal with their own serious health condition are entitled to reinstatement to their jobs or substantially identical ones when they return. But what if the employee isn’t ready to come back after 12 weeks? In that case, employers don’t have to reinstate the employee—at least not under the FMLA.

Here’s something to remember when you’re worried about firing someone because you might get sued: Judges don’t want to run HR departments. As long as HR acts honestly and believes the employee should be fired because she broke a company rule, chances are a lawsuit won’t ­succeed.

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.

Employees who have been fired generally qualify for unemployment benefits unless they were terminated for misconduct. But “misconduct” is broadly defined. It can even include rude or snippy behavior that shows an employee doesn’t really care.
Employers that can show they fired an employee for violating a company policy will generally win any subsequent lawsuit—if they can show they reasonably believed that’s what happened. It doesn’t matter if later it turns out the employer was wrong.
Here’s something to consider when terminating an older employee, while leaving younger ones in place: If your organization is sued, don’t expect the case to be tossed early on. Instead, brace for protracted litigation.