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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Have you ever thought of not hiring an applicant because he or she had previously declared bankruptcy? Maybe you thought that was discriminatory. But a court last week said, “Don’t worry.” Private employers won’t violate the U.S. Bankruptcy Code if they refuse to hire. But firing based on bankruptcy status is another story…

While employee handbooks are not required by law, they can prove essential — especially for small business owners that can't afford to lose a harassment or discrimination lawsuit. The employee handbook has become an essential tool in the employer’s arsenal to defend against liability for employment decisions.

Employers know they must conduct prompt and thorough investigations once an employee complains about discrimination or harassment. The integrity of the investigative process depends on the honesty of all participants. You don’t have to tolerate employees who lie during an investigation, even if the lie is a minor one.

Can an employee you never fired sue you for a discriminatory termination? Oddly enough, yes. Under some circumstances, an employee can quit and claim she was “constructively discharged.” To do so, she has to show conditions at work were intolerable. And now a federal court has concluded that cutting someone’s pay can be an intolerable condition.

Dillard’s department stores will have to answer in court to charges it discriminated against former area sales manager Virginia Keene because of her age. Working in Cary, Keene was 61 years old at the time the company fired her and replaced her with a 24-year-old with only four months’ experience.

Goldsboro-based construction company T.A. Loving has settled a religious discrimination complaint for $47,500. Elvis Cifuentes Angel and two other workers filed the complaint stating that Loving forced them to work on their religion’s Sabbath. All three workers are Seventh-day Adventists.

Especially in a lousy economy, fired employees will look for a reason to sue. You must be able to defend every discharge against possible discrimination and retaliation claims. The only safe approach is to document that you treated every employee equally. You simply can’t cut slack for one employee and not another.

Some workers decide to provide notice that they’ll need FMLA leave long before they’re even eligible for coverage. When you get such a request, don’t reject it out-of-hand.

The EEOC has filed suit against Hyundai Ideal Electric in Mansfield for allegedly firing a woman in retaliation for complaining about a pay disparity. Tabitha Wagner, a drafter, complained that she earned less than a similarly situated male drafter with less seniority. In the suit, Wagner claims she complained to HR Manager Jon Shearer on Nov. 11, 2008. Shearer terminated her the next day.

The EEOC has filed a class-action lawsuit against Cavalier Telephone on behalf of a group of account executives and job applicants from Pennsylvania and other Mid-Atlantic states, charging that the company refuses to hire older workers and fired two employees in retaliation after they objected to the alleged discrimination.
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