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!

In a victory for employers, the New York Court of Appeals has limited the reach of both the New York state and New York City human rights laws. The issue arose when Manhattan-based Parade magazine terminated Howard Hoffman, who claimed he was fired because of his age.

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.

The Supreme Court term that began yesterday will decide three important employment law cases. Here's our round-up of upcoming High Court arguments that could affect background checks, discipline and firings and the tricky issue of determining the employment eligibility of foreign-born workers.

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.

Nothing raises suspicions among employees (and juries) than effusive praise followed by a pink slip. So here’s a tip that will make courts more likely to uphold your termination decisions: Make sure whatever reason you use to justify a firing also shows up in past performance evaluations.

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.