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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It’s a free country, right? Em­­ployees can express themselves however they want at work. Wrong. The right to free speech on the job only applies to public employees, and even then there are significant limitations.

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.
When an employee senses that she may be in trouble and about to lose her job, she may begin to review the last year or so with an eye toward filing a pre-emptory lawsuit. If she suddenly remembers alleged acts of discrimination, she’s sure to complain. But she won’t win in the end if her employer can show it made the decision to fire her before she ever complained.

Fired employees seeking money (or revenge) often wrack their brains to recall incidents that might justify a sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuit. Suddenly, that casual complaint to HR starts to look like a pretext for their discharge—at least in their minds and their attorneys’. That’s why you should assume that every complaint will become the basis for a lawsuit.

When Long Island’s Jones Beach re­­quired its lifeguards to wear Speedo swimsuits for an annual swimming test in 2007, it chafed 61-year-old Roy Lester in more ways than one. He re­­fused to don the skimpy trunks for his test. The beach patrol fired Lester for in­­subordination.
An Arab-American of Moroccan descent has charged consulting giant PwC (formerly Pricewaters­houseCoopers) with discrimination and retaliation after it fired him and allegedly orchestrated his firing from another firm.
Here’s a tip to keep in mind the next time you must terminate an employee: Even if you don’t intend to tell the worker why he is being fired, be sure to carefully document the reasons. That way, if you are challenged later in court, you can point to the contemporaneously produced record as evidence you had a legitimate, business-related reason for your decision.
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