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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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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.
Q. Is there a law that requires a 45-day waiting period from the time employees are told they’ll be laid off until they receive the severance payment? My supervisor said it’s called a cooling-off period.
Here’s a practice you should make standard operating procedure: Have the same manager who makes hiring decisions also make the firing decisions. Doing so will cut the chances of a successful discrimination lawsuit.
Q. I just terminated an employee and it was an ugly, public scene. Do you have any tips for making termination meetings easier?
The recent 7th Circuit decision in Lindsey v. Walgreen Co. addresses the cat’s paw theory of liability in the context of an age discrimination claim. The court held that a supervisor who decided to fire an employee was not the “cat’s paw” because she did not rely solely on the employee’s allegedly biased supervisor.

The EEOC has sued an East Texas health care company for firing a housekeeper after learning she was pregnant. The federal agency sued Murphy Healthcare, which operates Frankston Healthcare Center, for firing Myesha Kerr, allegedly because it was concerned that she would be required to perform heavy lifting and be exposed to toxic chemicals.

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