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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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When the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s board of directors fired Executive Director Carl Greene, board members probably thought the move would end the serial litigation that marked his tenure. Wrong. Press reports last year linked Greene to a series of sexual harassment cases that—along with allegations of mismanagement—led to his firing last year ...

When an employee sues you and you know or suspect he may be mentally unstable, it’s tempting to dig for mental health records—perhaps to question his credibility. But if the employee isn’t claiming mental damages, don’t count on even accessing those records.

Some managers worry needlessly that they will be sued for discrimination if they fire an employee—especially one who acts as though she has a chip on her shoulder. But as long as an internal investigation finds that the employee hasn’t been discriminated against because of a protected characteristic, you likely have little to worry about.

Have at least two managers represent the company at any termination meeting. That way, the fired employee can’t make exaggerated claims about what happened during the meeting. Also, decide ahead of time the exact rationale for the discharge and then stick with that one reason.

It’s a legitimate workplace fear: Someone with emotional or mental problems will act out against co-workers. Sometimes, the consequences are deadly. Most of the time, threats of violence are just words. But words are enough to justify firing an employee who expresses intent to do harm, because of the fear that it instills in others.

A female firefighter in Highland Village has filed a lawsuit accusing the municipality of sexual harassment and retaliation following her firing in November 2008, after she filed internal and state complaints.

Some employees gripe all the time. You know them: They’re the ones who regularly appear in your doorway, ready to file yet another complaint with HR about supposed unfair treatment and discrimination. No matter how groundless, look into their claims.

Employees who believe they work in a hostile environment can quit and claim they were “constructively discharged,” arguing that no reasonable person would stay and suffer intolerable conditions. But when an employer responds to a resignation with entreaties to stay, chances are the employee will have a hard time arguing things were so terrible she had to quit.
Last year, the EEOC handled more complaints than ever, and employers paid out a record $404 million. Topping the list of EEOC claims: retaliation. Preventing retaliation will be a focus of the HR Specialist's LEAP Conference, set for March 30-April 1 at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas.

Have you ever thought of not hiring an applicant because he or she had previously declared bankruptcy? Maybe you thought that was discriminatory. But a court last month said, “Don’t worry.” Private employers won’t violate the U.S. Bankruptcy Code if they refuse to hire. But firing based on bankruptcy status is another story …

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