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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A school employee has lost her case against the school district after it fired her for testing positive for illegal drugs. She had argued she was forced to undergo drug testing on the threat of losing her job and that the testing violated her right to privacy and right to be free from unreasonable searches under the U.S. Constitution.
HR pros spend a lot of their time ensuring that their companies comply with the law so they don’t wind up in court and lose big bucks to a jury verdict. But more and more, they find themselves defending not their employers’ bottom lines, but their own bank accounts. How big is the risk? Try six figures—or more.
An employee at Capital Title of Texas refused her boss's request to dye her gray hair and was fired. As you can guess, she sued for age discrimination and is awaiting her day in court … probably in front of a gray-haired judge.
When employees carry a chip on their shoulders, they may see dis­crimination in acts that are simply nor­mal workplace behavior. For­tu­nately, courts won’t allow dis­crimi­nation cases to go to trial if they’re based on nothing more than vague “feelings.”
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.

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