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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The oil-field communications company RigNet faces a lawsuit alleging it fired an injured field technician after he filed for workers’ compensation benefits.

Make it a policy to keep it confidential when conducting internal investigations into discrimination or harassment. That way, rumors and exaggerated claims won’t influence other employees who haven’t yet told investigators their side of the story. Employers that terminate employees for violating that confidentiality needn’t worry that doing so is retaliation, at least according to a recent 11th Circuit decision.

Many employers use a point system to punish absenteeism, firing employees who accumulate too many points. Such a system negates the need to track the total number of hours of work an employee misses, since the employer is counting points rather than time.
The University of South Florida has settled a discrimination claim brought by an academic advisor who was fired just 10 months shy of vesting her pension following a 30-year career with the Tampa-based university system.
Before you approve a termination based on an employee’s apparent violation of an unwritten rule, decide whether the reason can stand up to scrutiny.

Employees who are punished for complaining about alleged illegal discrimination can sue for that retaliation. And they don’t have to show that actual discrimination took place—just that they believed in good faith that it did. Still, that doesn’t mean that every vague complaint can be used as the basis for a retaliation claim.

Common sense says that if a manager hires someone knowing that she belongs to a protected class, the manager probably won’t turn around a few months later and fire the new employee because she belongs to that protected class. That’s why you should make it a policy that the same managers who make hiring decisions also make termination decisions.

Q. I recently discovered that an employee who handles my company’s accounts receivable has filed for bankruptcy. Can I discharge this employee?
Say what you will about John Sculley, the man who fired Steve Jobs in 1985. At least he can admit he made a mistake. He takes responsibility for his mistake and believes that Apple’s board should have understood that Jobs needed to be in charge. “Maybe he should have been the CEO and I should have been the president,” Sculley says.
The Federal Jury Act makes it clear that employers may not “discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee by reason of such employee’s jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance in connection with such service, in any court of the United States.” Two recent cases show that courts won’t turn a blind eye to employers that fire workers because of jury service.
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