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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Say one of your employees posts vulgar comments on her Facebook page mocking the company or her boss. Other co-workers see it and add their own comments. You have a policy against such actions, so you can fire her, right? Not so fast.
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 ...

Some employees think that being the best employee in a division or company means not having to follow the rules. That isn’t true and can be downright damaging to morale. If you decide to fire the employee because of disruptive and uncooperative behavior, don’t worry that he’ll win a lawsuit just by virtue of productivity.

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?
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