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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Employees who take FMLA leave to deal with their own serious health condition are entitled to reinstatement to their jobs or substantially identical ones when they return. But what if the employee isn’t ready to come back after 12 weeks? In that case, employers don’t have to reinstate the employee—at least not under the FMLA.

Here’s something to remember when you’re worried about firing someone because you might get sued: Judges don’t want to run HR departments. As long as HR acts honestly and believes the employee should be fired because she broke a company rule, chances are a lawsuit won’t ­succeed.

Some employees are less than honest about their absences. From the “Monday morning flu” to claiming time off for nonexistent medical treatment, employees can get creative. But what can you do if you find out later that an employee has lied to get time off? Fire him for misrepresentation.

Employees who have been fired generally qualify for unemployment benefits unless they were terminated for misconduct. But “misconduct” is broadly defined. It can even include rude or snippy behavior that shows an employee doesn’t really care.
Employers that can show they fired an employee for violating a company policy will generally win any subsequent lawsuit—if they can show they reasonably believed that’s what happened. It doesn’t matter if later it turns out the employer was wrong.
Here’s something to consider when terminating an older employee, while leaving younger ones in place: If your organization is sued, don’t expect the case to be tossed early on. Instead, brace for protracted litigation.
Managers at the Dillard’s department store in Cary have learned the hard way that forcing out older workers simply because of their age doesn’t pay.
Here’s some good news for employers. Courts are beginning to toss out more lawsuits in the early stages if it becomes clear an employee has no case. Judges are telling employees they have to come to court with real facts—not just allegations they were discriminated against.
Consider this when writing policies: Employees can sue if their employer discriminates against them because of their “association” with a member of a protected class. And that association can include dating and other intimate relationships.

It happens—employers make mistakes. Under most circumstances, however, those mistakes won’t turn into successful employee discrimination lawsuits. That’s because employees have to prove that both the decision and the underlying facts were wrong and were used as an excuse to discriminate.

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