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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Here’s a reminder if you work at a Texas public university or another state-affiliated organization: Employees may have a “property interest” in their jobs. That means they’re entitled to receive notice that they are being fired—and to challenge the decision.
A West Texas A&M University violin instructor, who is also a member of the university’s acclaimed Harrington String Quartet, has agreed to settle a lawsuit that alleged she was fired after she missed work due to pregnancy complications and subsequent time off she took after giving birth.
The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that an employer may be held liable for employment discrimination under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), based on the discriminatory animus of an employee who influenced, but did not make, an ultimate employment decision.

Many employers don’t like to provide specific reasons for firing someone. Instead, they simply tell the employee that he is being terminated from his at-will employment. Don’t take that as an excuse not to document the reason you are terminating the employee.

Most workers are at-will employees, who can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, as long as your actions don’t violate anti-discrimination laws. That can tempt some supervisors to get lazy and fire a difficult employee without documenting exactly why. That’s a big mistake.

Employees have tight deadlines for filing discrimination complaints. But the clock doesn’t start ticking on those deadlines until the employee knows he’s been fired. If you’re terminating someone, be sure to make that clear!

There’s good news for Ohio employers worried about ADA compliance: The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to change the law on disability discrimination. A recent ruling upheld prior court decisions that said an employee can’t win a disability discrimination discharge lawsuit unless she can prove that her disability was the “sole” reason for the discharge.

Q. We keep hearing that retaliation can be a bigger lawsuit worry for employers than even discrimination or harassment. What kinds of employment laws impose retaliation liability?

Employees are expected to follow directions and treat their supervisors with respect. Employees who lose their tempers or refuse to follow legitimate directions are insubordinate. That means you can terminate them, a decision courts will rarely second-guess.

Under the law, an employee who takes FMLA leave is entitled to return to the same position he or she held when leave started or to an equivalent position. However, there are situations when employers can refuse to reinstate workers returning from FMLA leave—but only under limited circumstances.
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