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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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The EEOC projects the number of private-sector charges to exceed 100,000 by the end of fiscal year 2010. The increase is due in part to the additional statutory authority it gained with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). Given this trend, employers should review their ADA and medical policies to ensure they are in compliance with the ADAAA.

Have you ever thought of not hiring an applicant because he or she had previously declared bankruptcy? Maybe you thought that was discriminatory. But a court last week said, “Don’t worry.” Private employers won’t violate the U.S. Bankruptcy Code if they refuse to hire. But firing based on bankruptcy status is another story…

While employee handbooks are not required by law, they can prove essential — especially for small business owners that can't afford to lose a harassment or discrimination lawsuit. The employee handbook has become an essential tool in the employer’s arsenal to defend against liability for employment decisions.

Employers know they must conduct prompt and thorough investigations once an employee complains about discrimination or harassment. The integrity of the investigative process depends on the honesty of all participants. You don’t have to tolerate employees who lie during an investigation, even if the lie is a minor one.

Especially in a lousy economy, fired employees will look for a reason to sue. You must be able to defend every discharge against possible discrimination and retaliation claims. The only safe approach is to document that you treated every employee equally. You simply can’t cut slack for one employee and not another.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected a retaliation lawsuit that alleged reverse discrimination at Capella University, the nationwide online institution of higher learning based in Minneapolis.

The EEOC has filed suit against Hyundai Ideal Electric in Mansfield for allegedly firing a woman in retaliation for complaining about a pay disparity. Tabitha Wagner, a drafter, complained that she earned less than a similarly situated male drafter with less seniority. In the suit, Wagner claims she complained to HR Manager Jon Shearer on Nov. 11, 2008. Shearer terminated her the next day.

Supervisors accused of discrimination sometimes lose their tempers—and then proceed to say or do something stupid. When that happens, act fast to step in and make amends. That’s especially important if the affected employee has walked off the job. The key is to make the employee understand that he still has a job and should return to work.

Dillard’s department stores will have to answer in court to charges it discriminated against former area sales manager Virginia Keene because of her age. Working in Cary, Keene was 61 years old at the time the company fired her and replaced her with a 24-year-old with only four months’ experience.

Employers that want to terminate employees who have complained about pressure to engage in criminal activity must make sure the termination process is flawless. It’s especially important to be able to articulate in very concrete terms an underlying, legitimate reason for the firing—one that can’t be mistaken as a pretext for getting rid of a troublemaker.

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