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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!

Here’s an employer argument that didn’t work: It couldn’t have been pregnancy discrimination when we fired her because she wasn’t pregnant anymore.

It comes as a bolt out of the blue: The Florida Commission on Human Relations notifies you that there’s “reasonable cause” to believe retaliation was the reason a female employee lost out on a promotion to a male co-worker. But it was a clean promotion process! How did this happen? As it turns out, this is the “cat’s paw” doctrine at work.

There’s no way around it: When you fire someone who has been harassing other employees, he may sue. Accept that fact and carefully document the investigation that led to the termination.

Employers can use no-fault attendance policies as a way to control absenteeism. There’s no doubt about the effectiveness of no-fault programs, which allow a certain number of unexcused absences without any documentation, and then punish employees who go beyond allowable limits. But before you fire an employee for breaking your absenteeism rules, carefully consider whether he is eligible for FMLA leave.

Every year, employers face yet another increase in their health insurance premiums. And if there are many older or sick employees, those costs will keep on rising. Even adding one sick child to the list can drive costs into the stratosphere. But before you even consider firing (or refusing to hire) someone because they might jack up insurance costs, count your dollars, not your pennies. You might be staring down a lawsuit that could dwarf whatever premium costs you hoped to avoid.

Before terminating an employee who has recently filed a discrimination claim, consider whether the timing may provoke a retaliation lawsuit. Generally, the closer in time to the complaint a termination occurs, the more likely a court will order a jury trial. You may still terminate the employee—if you’re sure that’s appropriate.

Tim Murnane left real estate development firm Opus Northwest in June 2009 after negotiating a $2 million severance package to be paid out over 10 years. Murnane took a new position with St. Louis-based Clayco Inc., another developer in the Twin Cities area. All was going well until March, when a scheduled $79,266 payment from Opus failed to arrive in Murnane’s mailbox ...

Employees may be disabled under the ADA if surgery or another medical condition forces them to use the bathroom frequently. The condition affects a major life activity—elimination of wastes.

Ordinarily, managers who have the authority to make personnel decisions aren’t held personally liable for sexual harassment under Title VII. But that’s not necessarily the case under the New York State Human Rights Law. If you’re an HR professional with the power to make recommendations on hiring applicants or firing employees, make sure you don’t ignore sexual harassment claims that come your way.

Some employees quit and then argue that they had no choice but to do so. This is known as “constructive discharge.” Such a claim can succeed in court if the employee can show that working conditions became so intolerable that quitting was the only reasonable response. But an employee can’t quit and claim constructive discharge just because he’s facing potential disciplinary action.