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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!

If you carefully document wrongdoing, you have very little to fear from a lawsuit—even if you’re wrong. That’s because courts don’t demand perfection from employers—just that they act in good faith.

Presumably, when you terminate an employee, you have good reasons for doing so. If you pile on more reasons later, it may look as if you are trying to cover up a discriminatory decision with a host of excuses for why you fired the employee.

Employers that keep careful track of which employees are disciplined—and for what reasons—have a leg up if they’re ever sued for discrimination. Before you terminate any employee, take the time to pull up all similar past disciplinary files. If those records show you fired other employees for identical or less-serious offenses, chances are no court will second-guess your decision in the latest case.

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?
Q. A group of our employees recently voted to strike. To ensure that our operations aren’t disrupted, we would like to hire replacement workers. When the strike ends, will we be required to reinstate the strikers?

Employee theft is a big problem, and it’s natural for employers that catch workers stealing to terminate them. But some of those thieves may still file for unemployment. Challenge such applications on the basis that the firing offense was punishable as a crime. There’s no need for an actual conviction.

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.