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 11th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals has refused to recognize veterans as a protected class under either Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act or under the Florida Civil Rights Act. That means claims based on military service must generally be brought under the Uniformed Serv­ices Em­ployment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
Courts are suspicious when em­ployees who have recently returned from FMLA leave are suddenly fired. Yet, chances are you will at some point have to terminate an employee following FMLA leave. Just make sure you can explain why, backed up by solid and contemporaneous documentation.

Employees who take FMLA leave are usually eligible for reinstatement, but not always. If you were going to eliminate the position anyway, the employee may be out of luck. Before you deny reinstatement, be sure you can clearly show that the position was cut for reasons completely unrelated to the employee’s FMLA leave.

The Supreme Court of Ohio has just created a new avenue for at-will employees who are discharged and want to claim their firing violates public policy. In the following case, the court ruled that employees who are fired after reporting an on-the-job injury but before they have a chance to file a workers’ compensation claim can sue for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) can help turn around subpar employees. But if you use PIPs, make sure you implement them equitably. For example, if you place a sales­person on a PIP to raise falling sales, then institute a PIP for everyone whose sales have fallen to the same level. That’s especially important if one of the employees is about to take FMLA leave or is pregnant.

A former employee of Texas Energy Service is suing the company under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, alleging it fired him because he is black.

If there’s no use-it-or-lose-it policy in place, employees can easily stockpile weeks of vacation or personal leave. Should they become ill, they may try to use that time as a substitute for FMLA leave. If an employee asks you to approve an especially long vacation, and you suspect the underlying reason may be a covered condition under the FMLA, beware automatically rejecting the request.

Here’s a case that shows you can’t have it both ways. A Texas appeals court has concluded that an employer can’t enforce an employment contract against an employee when that contract specifies that the employee remains an at-will employee.

A former employee at a North Carolina Walmart has lost a novel claim that could have opened the litigation floodgates in North Carolina and destroyed the at-will employment concept. He sued, alleging he had been forced to reveal why he had been fired, which in effect amounted to self-defamation.
Q. I have an employee who is a volunteer firefighter. Although I believe that volunteering is important, his absences to respond to emergencies have disrupted workplace productivity. Can I replace him on this basis?