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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Every once in a while, an employee is such a pain in the neck that a manager wishes he would just quit. Methodically, the boss makes life increasingly difficult for the problem child. Finally, the employee resigns. Problem solved, right? Wrong! Now the employee can sue, claiming “constructive discharge.”

Some employees think that once they are approved for FMLA leave, they don’t have to follow the same rules as other employees when they’re away from work. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, employers are free to create call-in policies that require employees who are going to be absent to phone daily—and they can include employees on FMLA leave in that policy.

Employers have a right to defend themselves if an employee sues them for discriminating in a way that inflicts emotional distress. Now a court has agreed that employers are entitled to see medical records dating back two years from the time of the alleged discrimination that the employee says triggered the emotional distress.

When an employee sues you and you know or suspect he may be mentally unstable, it’s tempting to dig for mental health records—perhaps to question his credibility. But if the employee isn’t claiming mental damages, don’t count on even accessing those records.

North Carolina has stringent rules to ensure that employers test their employees for drug use in an accurate and reliable way. The law requires retaining enough of the blood or urine sample so a second test can be conducted if necessary. However, the law doesn’t require employers to tell employees about their retesting rights.

Have at least two managers represent the company at any termination meeting. That way, the fired employee can’t make exaggerated claims about what happened during the meeting. Also, decide ahead of time the exact rationale for the discharge and then stick with that one reason.

A female firefighter in Highland Village has filed a lawsuit accusing the municipality of sexual harassment and retaliation following her firing in November 2008, after she filed internal and state complaints.
Employees who believe they work in a hostile environment can quit and claim they were “constructively discharged,” arguing that no reasonable person would stay and suffer intolerable conditions. But when an employer responds to a resignation with entreaties to stay, chances are the employee will have a hard time arguing things were so terrible she had to quit.
Here’s a bit of good news for HR professionals who worry that they aren’t conducting perfect investigations. Courts just want to see employers act reasonably. That doesn’t mean investigations must prove employee misconduct beyond a reasonable doubt.
When the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s board of directors fired Executive Director Carl Greene, board members probably thought the move would end the serial litigation that marked his tenure. Wrong. Press reports last year linked Greene to a series of sexual harassment cases that—along with allegations of mismanagement—led to his firing last year ...
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