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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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 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.

Hesitant to fire an employee because of his race, religion or other pro­­tected characteristic? Don’t be. Employers with legitimate reasons to discharge someone generally win cases. That’s true even if the firing might appear discriminatory—such as when the sole fired employee happens to belong to a protected class.

Government employees have a few rights that private-sector employees lack. One is the right to “some sort of” hearing before being terminated. A public employee essentially gets the right to challenge the decision to terminate him before it is final. But what happens if the employee signs on to a so-called last-chance agreement?

When deciding who should get the ax during cost-cutting reductions in force, use as many objective factors as possible. For example, use performance measures that include specific achieve­­­ments and rankings based on those achievements.
Q. We have a staff member with body odor so bad that other staff members have complained and even threatened to leave the company. The employee has been disciplined several times and required to go home without pay until she agrees to comply with our grooming code. At what point can we legally terminate her?
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