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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!

Minnesota employees who make good-faith reports about safety concerns are protected from retaliation. Before you approve a termination recommendation, make sure the employee hasn’t recently complained about safety issues. If he has, verify that the discharge reasons are genuine. Otherwise, prepare for a retaliation lawsuit.

Q. We are in the process of reducing our staff and will need to lay off several employees. Are we required to provide severance pay to those selected for layoff? How about pay for accrued, unused vacation time?
Employees will be employees. You can only do so much to keep them from saying and doing boneheaded things. But once they do, must you respond to every single incident? Yes, you should, a court said this week. Otherwise, your actions could show your “indifference” to harassment claims.
Before you even consider firing (or refusing to hire) someone because they might jack up your health insurance costs, count your dollars, not your pennies. You may be staring down a lawsuit that could dwarf whatever premium costs you hoped to avoid.

Employee assistance programs are on the rise as employers cope with higher health care costs—and employees cope with the stresses of an uncertain economy. An expert says four trends will drive EAP change in coming months, bringing cost savings for companies and better care for workers.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, a seemingly great employee makes an awful decision that forces you to terminate her. The key: Be consistent. Letting bad behavior slide because the worker is a stellar performer can trigger a discrimination claim. The best way to show bias played no part in the decision: Document the employee’s unacceptable behavior.

Because Texas is an “at-will” state, employers are generally free to fire employees for any reason or no reason. Of course, firing employees under circumstances that would be illegal under any specific employment law won’t fly. But other than that, there is only one other discharge reason that puts employees outside at-will employment: Employers can’t fire employees for refusing to perform an illegal act.

In age discrimination cases, employees only have to show they were replaced by someone younger, or otherwise discharged because of age. You will have a much easier time showing that you had a legitimate reason unrelated to age for terminating the employee if you can cite specific business reasons to back up each part of your decision-making process.

You may be worrying too much about firing an employee right after she files a discrimination complaint! If you can easily show that you would have fired her regardless of her complaint, a court is unlikely to connect her complaint with your decision. And in Texas, timing alone isn’t enough to prove the firing was retaliation.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has a bigger budget and more staffing this year, and intends to audit federal government contractors or subcontractors that have 50 or more employees and a contract or subcontract of at least $50,000. And the OFCCP can be expected to increase its scrutiny on health care providers that are contractors or subcontractors for the government.