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 former head of security at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens has filed a lawsuit claiming the institution discriminates against blacks, and that he was fired in part because of his age.

Are you hearing that a supervisor is making less than flattering statements about a disabled employee or disabled individuals in general? Then it’s time to call in the supervisor and explain to her it has to stop. That’s especially true if the super­visor happens to have a disabled ­employee under her direction and recommends that the employee should be terminated.

Capping what State House officials called a “collaborative model for other states to follow,” Gov. Pat Quinn signed an education overhaul bill that makes it easier for school districts to fire teachers and strips many seniority protections teachers had. Setting the new legislation apart is the support it garnered from the powerful Chicago Teachers Union.

The EEOC is suing Pantego-based Tideland Electric Membership Corp., claiming it failed to accommodate a disabled employee. Jeffrey Erdman suffers from a chronic pain condition, but with the help of prescription painkillers, he was able to perform his job as an apprentice lineman. However, when Tideland learned of Erdman’s condition and the narcotic prescribed for his pain, it fired him.

In today’s tough economy, it’s sometimes necessary to terminate em­­ployees. That may be especially true when new technology makes it easier to perform some tasks, reducing the need for employees.

Employers get lots of leeway when it comes to terminating employees. For example, courts generally uphold firing someone for breaking a rule as long as the employer reasonably believed the employee broke the rule—even if it turns out he did not. But when it looks as if the employer tried to trick the employee into breaking a rule, judges won’t look the other way.

Employees who take FMLA leave to deal with their own serious health condition are entitled to reinstatement to their jobs or substantially identical ones when they return. But what if the employee isn’t ready to come back after 12 weeks? In that case, employers don’t have to reinstate the employee—at least not under the FMLA.

Here’s something to remember when you’re worried about firing someone because you might get sued: Judges don’t want to run HR departments. As long as HR acts honestly and believes the employee should be fired because she broke a company rule, chances are a lawsuit won’t ­succeed.

Some employees are less than honest about their absences. From the “Monday morning flu” to claiming time off for nonexistent medical treatment, employees can get creative. But what can you do if you find out later that an employee has lied to get time off? Fire him for misrepresentation.

Employees who have been fired generally qualify for unemployment benefits unless they were terminated for misconduct. But “misconduct” is broadly defined. It can even include rude or snippy behavior that shows an employee doesn’t really care.