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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Employers are increasingly using web-based social media—such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—to screen potential employees, in addition to the usual applications, interviews, references, and background, credit and drug tests. But they don’t always recognize the potential pitfalls and risks.
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.

Former Baytown municipal employee Richard Hensley is suing the city, arguing that a negative performance appraisal he received reflects a pattern of discrimination against older workers. The lawsuit argues that the city of Baytown routinely replaces older employees with younger, unqualified replacements.
A former employee of H&W Industrial Services in Longview is suing the painting and cleaning contractor for sexual discrimination and harassment after a supervisor allegedly made comments about her sexual orientation.

If your organization is unionized and operates under a collective bargaining agreement that calls for progressive discipline, think twice before automatically firing an employee you believe has sexually harassed other employees. Unless your contract specifies discharge for a first harassment offense, you may have to follow your progressive discipline program.

Here’s a bit of good news for employers that must terminate some of their employees because the IRS says their Social Security numbers are invalid. If they stage an unfair protest against their firings, you can sue them to stop.
Be prepared to be creative when business necessity forces changes that will eliminate a position held by an older employee. When that’s the case, consider offering the older employee alternative positions. If she declines to take comparable jobs, document it. That refusal will make it next to impossible for her to win an age discrimination 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.

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