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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Remember the good ol’ days when you could fire someone based on performance? All you needed was proper documentation. Well, those days are over. The U.S. Supreme Court has created a whole new class of plaintiffs—and added an extra step to your termination checklist…
The Supreme Court on Jan. 24 ruled that the fiancé of a woman who filed an EEOC discrimination complaint was protected from retaliation by their mutual employer and can now sue for retaliation. The case has important implications for all employers: It's more important than ever to make sure your discipline policies pass the no-retaliation test.

Retail managers are generally responsible for everything that happens in their stores. But they often spend most of their time doing the same work that hourly employees do. Even so, they may qualify as exempt employees under the FLSA. It’s the quality of the management work they do that counts, not the number of hours they spend doing it.

The federal labor law can be a trap for the unwary—even for nonunion employers. Even if your employees don’t belong to a union, the National Labor Relations Act applies to you. For example, the National Labor Relations Board recently announced that a nonunionized employer will pay $900,000 to two fired employees to settle charges that it violated the NLRA.

Say one of your employees posts vulgar comments on her Facebook page mocking the company or her boss. Other co-workers see it and add their own comments. You have a policy against such actions, so you can fire her, right? Not so fast.
In Hollywood, couples break up every few seconds because of incompatibility. But is “incompatible work styles” a good enough reason to divorce yourself from an employee? This week, one court said it is. However, be aware they will look at your reasoning with caution…
Q. I am terminating employees in three states. Is it OK for me to use my standard separation agreement in all three states?

Do you suspect a rogue supervisor is driving away employees belonging to a protected class? If so, begin asking tougher questions during your exit interviews. For example, if several black employees who work under the same supervisor have quit or requested transfers, find out why. The problem may be a biased supervisor ...

Courts often hesitate to second-guess employers when they fire employees for what seem like honest reasons. And employers that set out clear performance expectations and then show how the terminated employee fell short rarely lose a lawsuit. That’s because, absent smoking-gun evidence of discrimination, fired employees have to prove they were meeting their employer’s legitimate expectations.

Remember this the next time you have to terminate an employee: If you plan to prepare a post-discharge summary, don’t succumb to the temptation to add new reasons to justify the firing. Post-discharge memos should simply describe the decision and how you carried it out, not look like an attempt to justify a decision made earlier.
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