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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Employees who believe they have been disciplined more severely than co-workers may blame the disparity on some form of discrimination. They may think that their age, sex, national origin or some other protected characteristic is the real reason. Even if you know you haven’t been biased, be prepared for the accusation.

If you want to fire someone for misconduct, here’s a good reason not to drag your feet on it. If the delay is too long between the alleged misconduct and the termination, the employee may get unemployment compensation.

The federal labor law can be a trap for the unwary—even for nonunion employers. Even if your employees don’t belong to a union, the National Labor Relations Act applies to you. Example: A nonunionized employer now has to pay $900,000 to two fired employees to settle charges that it violated the NLRA. To avoid similar trouble, you must understand this law!

Supervisors sometimes make the mistake—often during the hiring process or after employees pass a 60-day post-hire period—of using the term “permanent” when discussing their jobs. That essentially promises the person a job for life and it can destroy their at-will status.
New York City’s Princeton Club faces a lawsuit alleging it terminated a long-time employee because of her accent. The employee claims the club fired her after nearly 30 years of service because a new general manager found Hispanic accents “embarrassing.”

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.
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