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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The New York media world was abuzz with news of the termination of veteran publishing executive Jack Griffin from his job of CEO of Time Inc. a little more than five months after he got there. In the spirit of leadership learning, I’m offering my Five Ways to Avoid Being Fired in Five Months:
With more than 500 million Facebook users in the world—and each one having an average of 130 “friends”—workplaces are confronting the issue of online linking between supervisors and subordinates. Given the risks, many employers have chosen to adopt social media policies that set clear guidelines for employees and managers—including prohibitions or limitations on “friending” between bosses and their employees.
Heads are rolling in Norfolk, Va., following the discovery that a government worker who was suspended 12 years ago and hasn’t done a day of work since then has been drawing a paycheck the whole time. And get this: Now that she’s been officially fired, she’s suing.
In recent rulings, the Supreme Court clearly signaled its unwillingness to tolerate even the appearance of circumventing the nation’s anti-discrimination laws. Employers must have investigative procedures in place to help guide decision-making when an employee could be disciplined or terminated.

Some employees think that once they are approved for FMLA leave, they don’t have to follow the same rules as other employees when they’re away from work. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, employers are free to create call-in policies that require employees who are going to be absent to phone daily—and they can include employees on FMLA leave in that policy.

Courts don’t like it when employees are treated unfairly. On the other hand, judges don’t want to serve as HR courts, either. That’s why they generally defer to management decisions that seem fair and honest. Judges prefer it when employers investigate allegations of employee wrongdoing before they fire someone—but they don’t require that the investigation be perfect.

Guess which of your employees are among the most likely to file a discrimination complaint, request ADA accommodations or ask for FMLA leave. Those who know they’re in trouble at work. They think that by doing so, they’ll make you think twice before discharging them. If that doesn’t keep you from firing them, guess what happens next.

Employees tend to get angry if management dismisses or turns a blind eye to some perceived injustice. That anger may manifest itself in many ways, including refusing to cooperate with reasonable requests. You don’t have to put up with that passive-aggressive behavior.

With the most recent U.S. Supreme Court pronouncement on retaliation, it’s now clearly impermissible to punish someone who is closely related to an employee who has filed an EEOC complaint or lawsuit. But you can protect yourself by limiting who within the company knows about litigation.

If you don’t have a chance to personally observe an employee’s behavior, don’t rely solely on a supervisor’s termination recommendation. Instead, conduct an independent investigation to verify the supervisor’s claim. Otherwise, any employment decision based on that recommendation can be tainted by the supervisor’s hidden bias.

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