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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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Employers and employees have the right to a safe work environment free from violence or direct threats of harm. Punishing an employee who puts others in danger or creates widespread fear is not only appropriate, but essential. That’s true regardless of the underlying reason for the threatening behavior. You can discipline the employee, no matter why he misbehaved.

Effective Jan. 1, Illinois employers must comply with the Illinois Employee Credit Privacy Act, which severely restricts the use of an applicant or employee’s credit history in hiring, firing or promotions. Covered employers may not use credit reports or credit information from sources other than credit reporting agencies when evaluating employees or applicants.
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.

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 …

Spring cleaning? Be sure to dust off and update your employee handbook too. Pay attention to this important point: When it comes to discipline policies, give yourself some flexibility to deal with unusual circumstances. Steer clear of complicated policies that try to categorize every conceivable offense for which employees could be fired.

Many companies design succession plans so they can spot the next generation of leaders early and develop current employees to their full potential. If your organization is involved in such a process, step back and look: Does everyone who is tapped for special treatment come from the same race or gender? Or does the chosen group exclude older workers or the disabled?
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