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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If you think your employees can be an odd bunch, rest assured they’re probably not the weirdest of the weird. The working world is a strange and wondrous place, thanks to the colorful characters that inhabit it. Here are three good examples.
Retail managers often spend most of their time doing the same work that hourly employees do, such as running cash registers. Even so, they may qualify as exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Why? It’s the quality of the management work they do that counts, not the number of hours they spend doing it.

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 have quit or requested transfers, find out why. The problem may be a biased supervisor who is pushing away good employees—and setting up the company for a lawsuit.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has handed disgruntled employees a big weapon to use against their employers. The court ruled that Joyce Quinlan was within her rights to photocopy company documents—some of which were confidential—to use in a lawsuit against Curtiss-Wright, the aerospace company where she once served as executive director of human resources.

More and more employees and applicants are filing their own lawsuits and acting as their own attorneys. Traditionally, courts allow these pro se litigants a great deal of latitude simply because they don’t have legal experience. If the following case is any indication, courts are getting tired of the additional drag on their dockets and have begun dismissing lawsuits when it becomes clear a pro se litigant has no case.
OSHA is suing the East Harlem Council for Community Improvement for allegedly retaliating against an employee who complained about unsafe working conditions.
A North Carolina hotel management company finds itself exposed to legal liability because the manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Simpsonville, S.C., allegedly exposed himself to female employees.

Generally, employers don’t need a reason to terminate an at-will employee. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carefully document how, why and when you made the decision—even if you don’t plan to share the information with the employee. Documentation is especially crucial if you are terminating an employee who is returning from FMLA leave.

Quid pro quo harassment cases, in which a supervisor makes a pass at a subordinate and then punishes her if she rejects the advance, are hard for employers to defend. Your best bet is prevention. Institute a review process for all adverse employment actions such as demotions or terminations. Require a second signature before any firing becomes final.

Beth Rist’s story with the city of Ironton goes back years. She was the Ironton Police Department’s first female officer when she was hired in 1996. In 2001, she sued the department, alleging sexual harassment. She won that lawsuit. But Rist’s string of success appeared to stop at that point ...

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