In these difficult economic times, if you have to conduct a reduction in force, think carefully about how you select those who will be terminated, especially if you anticipate bringing some workers back when the financial picture improves. For example, don’t tell employees they were picked for layoffs because their work was substandard. Use a gentler approach.
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!
The HR office is often the place where a lawsuit can be prevented. That’s why HR pros must make sure every discharge or other adverse employment decision (demotion, pay cut, etc.) can be successfully defended. Be especially careful if you’re asked to approve a decision that comes closely on the heels of a discrimination or harassment complaint.
Employees who claim they have been discriminated against typically have to show that their employers singled them out for poor treatment because of a protected characteristic. It’s easy for employers to counter that if they can show they always act in good faith. The best way to do that is to apply the rules equally to every employee.
Unfortunately for employers, the EEOC can spend as much time on the investigation as it wants without losing the right to sue. That’s because there is technically no statute of limitations on the commission’s actions. But that doesn’t mean employers are powerless. Fortunately, there is a legal doctrine employers can use when the EEOC waits and waits to initiate litigation.
Hiring managers spend too much time interviewing candidates—and asking them the wrong questions. Then they’re often surprised to have to fire those same candidates a few months later after discovering that good interview skills don’t necessarily signal a great job fit. The problem: Employers often hire for hard skills but fire for soft skills, says Karl Ahlrichs of Hiring Smart, an Indiana firm specializing in employee selection. Instead, says Ahlrichs, “Our new slogan should be, ‘Fire them before we hire them.’” ...
You know you have an obligation to eliminate discrimination, harassment and retaliation. You know you have to make sure employees don’t harass co-workers or subordinates, or harm customers and others. On the other hand, you know applicants and employees have a right to privacy that is protected by state and federal laws. It’s a balancing act: Just how do you protect workers on the one hand, while respecting their privacy on the other?
Here’s a tip that will make courts more likely to uphold your termination decisions. Make sure whatever reason you use to justify the firing also showed up in past performance evaluations. Nothing raises suspicions more than kudos followed by discharge.