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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Smart employers make sure that no employee is ever punished for taking FMLA leave. They do that by carefully cataloging when every employee takes FMLA leave. And if they must discipline an employee for attendance problems, they spell out the reason why each absence counted toward punishment.

A supervisor asks a worker to move some heavy boxes, which isn’t one of the worker’s usual duties. The worker refuses, claiming physical problems prevent him from doing so. What should the supervisor do? Fire him for insubordination?

When faced with discipline and the possibility of getting fired, some employees try to revive old complaints that have long since been resolved. They hope that resurrecting an old complaint will make their employer think twice about terminating. But employers are entitled to get work done. Don’t let a ploy like this prevent legitimate and necessary discipline.

Some schoolyard bullies grow into workplace bullies. In most cases, their behavior won’t lead to a lawsuit. But that’s not always the case.
Here’s a great reason for insisting that all supervisors document their subordinates’ performance problems: If an employee later claims her manager behaved abusively, good documentation will support any discipline for poor performance. That could block a harassment lawsuit.
A Fayetteville Taco Bell faces discrimination charges after it fired a long-term employee for failing to follow company grooming standards. Christopher Abbey had worked at the restaurant for six years before the length of his hair became an issue. Abbey subscribes to the Nazarite faith, which upholds Old Testament teachings that long hair shows one’s devotion to God.
Q. You’ve written that we can’t fire employees for their “concerted activity,” like talking about pay or bosses, and we may have to live with certain complaining via social media. But are there limits?
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.
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