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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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There comes a time when you might be forced to conclude that the problem with a department isn’t all those lousy employees, but the person who manages them. If that’s the case, it may be time to terminate the manager.

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.

Terminated employees sometimes have to file for bankruptcy. Sometimes they sue former employers, too. In that case, they’re required to inform the bankruptcy court about their pending lawsuit. If you lose a lawsuit, have your attorney find out whether the former employee has filed for bankruptcy. You may find that you have a “get out of jail free” card.

Some supervisors wrongly assume that employees can’t sue if they quit—only if they’re fired. That makes some bosses think the best way to get rid of overly litigious employees is to make life so horrible that they quit. That’s not smart. Employees who find working conditions so intolerable that they have no choice but to quit can still sue for constructive discharge.

“If HR stays on the transaction side, we’ll be out of business in 10 years,” said Conrad Venter, global head of HR at Deutsche Bank. “Business leaders will say.… ‘Where’s the value?’” and choose to outsource those transactional duties."
Q. One of our employees filed a sexual harassment complaint against another worker. After interviewing both parties, we are unable to resolve the credibility conflict. We asked the accused co-worker to take a polygraph exam, but he refused. Can we fire the employee for refusing to take the lie detector test?
If you terminate an employee the day he comes back from FMLA leave, plan on getting sued. Timing alone can be enough for the court to let a jury decide the case. That’s true even if your past practices in similar cases don’t show any pattern of FMLA interference.
Water-cooler talk about alleged discrimination or harassment can poison a workplace. That’s why your company policy should require all participants in investigations (including witnesses) to keep quiet about the issue. That way, rumors and exaggerated claims won’t influence other employees who haven’t yet told investigators their side of the story.
Employees can take job-protected FMLA leave for "serious health conditions." But take note: Cosmetic surgery only counts as a serious condition in very rare cases ...
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