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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Here’s an important reminder to heed when you must discipline employees: If an employee commits a major rule violation that justifies termination, rely on that reason alone. Resist the temptation to pile on additional reasons. It may make defending a lawsuit that much easier.

When disciplining conduct that violates company policies, remember that you have leeway to come up with appropriate punishment based on the specifics of each incident. Just make sure you document the conduct, what rules it violated and why each employee deserved the punishment he or she received.

Illinois has strict laws against recording telephone conversations without permission. But those laws allow recording if a party to the conversation believes a crime is being or is about to be committed. In some cases, that means you can use a recorded phone call as the basis for termination.

Some managers think they have to punish the same rule violation exactly the same way for all employees. But the truth is that no two cases are exactly alike. Those differences can justify punishing one employee more severely than another. The key: You must be prepared to justify why you treated the cases differently.

Sometimes, it’s smart to pull the termination trigger sooner rather than later. Waiting just gives the employee a chance to dig in—and plan a lawsuit.
Here’s some good news for employers. Courts are beginning to toss out more lawsuits in the early stages if it becomes clear an employee has no case. Judges are telling employees they have to come to court with real facts—not just allegations they were discriminated against.

If you’ve ever been caught up in an employment lawsuit, chances are you couldn’t wait for it to be over. Yet every case presents a valuable opportunity to prevent future problems and improve HR effectiveness by conducting an “autopsy” of the claim. Jathan Janove tells you how.

HR professionals or managers should always discuss performance or behavior problems with employees before disciplining them. After all, employees often admit their mistakes when confronted directly. And any admissions can be used later to support your disciplinary decision if the employee claims discrimination.

Friction often exists between HR and supervisors because those front-line bosses don’t fully understand your HR role … and they may hold certain stereotypes about your department. Advice: Set the stage for HR-management collaboration with an “HR for managers” meeting. Explain how key HR functions practically benefit managers and their departments.
The EEOC received a record 99,922 charges in the 2010 fiscal year—the most the agency has received in its 45-year history. Given this sharp increase in charge activity, now is a good time to review your personnel policies and practices to make sure you’re taking appropriate steps to help prevent potential dis­crimination claims.
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