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!

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.

Until now, it wasn’t clear whether employers could ask employees returning from military service to waive their re-employment rights under USERRA. Now a ruling from the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has offered guidance for employers that want to provide severance payments in lieu of re-employment.

Andrew Kurtz, part of a crew of guys who dress as hearty snacks and race around the Pittsburgh Pirates' stadium at every home game, was canned after criticizing team executives on Facebook. There's a lesson in here somewhere—perhaps on social media, perhaps on the tricky decision about who to fire when things aren't going well.

Has an employee complained about a supervisor’s alleged discrimination? If so, carefully review any important employment decisions the supervisor subsequently makes. Be alert for potential retaliation.
Q. A replacement line supervisor directed an employee in our plant to use a machine he wasn’t trained to operate. The employee was injured when he stuck his hand into the machine to clear a jam. While the employee was recuperating in the hospital, the plant supervisor fired him for operating machinery he hadn’t been trained on. Does the employee have a right to sue us if the line supervisor ordered him to do this job?
Don’t jump the gun when it comes to firing an employee for breaking a rule. For example, if you have an attendance policy that requires termination after a certain number of absences, be sure the employee actually missed all those days.
Q. A recently terminated employee retained an attorney, who then engaged in pre-suit negotiations with our HR vice president. During those negotiations, our VP disclosed, in writing, some confidential information about the internal investigation that led to this employee’s termination. Negotiations have since broken down and the employee filed suit. Should I be concerned about these pre-suit disclosures coming back to haunt us in the litigation?
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.