Some employers don’t necessarily want to confront an employee directly when they suspect that he may be engaged in illegal activity. The threat of violent reprisal is very real. If you fire the employee, he may sue, alleging some form of discrimination. But if you have documented why you did what you did, chances are the lawsuit will be dismissed.
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!
Do you think some employees may be taking advantage of your paid leave plan? If so, it’s OK to set up a surveillance program to catch the worst offenders. Just make sure you document why a particular employee’s behavior is suspicious. Good reasons to check up include “coincidental” timing like absences clustered around weekends or holidays.
Sometimes, you don’t know how lousy an employee was until he or she is gone. That may be when you find out about missing work, or even missing money. Or you may discover that the employee was essentially dishonest. If that’s the fact, promptly document what you discovered—just in case there is a later lawsuit.
In these difficult economic times, if you have to conduct a reduction in force, think carefully about how you select those who will be terminated, especially if you anticipate bringing some workers back when the financial picture improves. For example, don’t tell employees they were picked for layoffs because their work was substandard. Use a gentler approach.
The HR office is often the place where a lawsuit can be prevented. That’s why HR pros must make sure every discharge or other adverse employment decision (demotion, pay cut, etc.) can be successfully defended. Be especially careful if you’re asked to approve a decision that comes closely on the heels of a discrimination or harassment complaint.
Employees who claim they have been discriminated against typically have to show that their employers singled them out for poor treatment because of a protected characteristic. It’s easy for employers to counter that if they can show they always act in good faith. The best way to do that is to apply the rules equally to every employee.