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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 a rule of thumb to follow: An alleged harasser should have no part in a later termination decision involving his or her accuser. Giving the alleged harasser any role in the firing is almost certain to spur a retaliation lawsuit, even if it turns out the harassment claim doesn’t stick.

If an employer decides to deny a fringe benefit to an employee, and the employee challenges the decision, courts must at least consider the possibility that a conflict of interest exists. That’s because anytime an employer decides to provide a benefit, that benefit comes at a cost.

So you’ve terminated an employee because she wasn’t doing a good job. Now you’ve got to deal with the aftermath—employees asking questions about the firing or wondering whether they will lose their jobs next. To allay those fears, it’s OK to tell them that the former employee was fired because she wasn’t doing a good job—as long as that’s true.

Are you planning a reduction in force due to the poor economy? If so, double-check who is going to lose their jobs, paying particular attention to whether the burden falls predominantly on workers over age 40. If that is the case, make absolutely certain you have legitimate business reasons to back up your decision to fire them.

In California, you can’t terminate employees for coming forward to press for enforcement of wage-and-hour claims, even if it turns out the claims were unfounded. That’s because California law strongly supports employee rights to get all the pay they’re entitled to, and efforts to punish employees who are wrong would chill efforts to challenge their employers’ pay policies.

Layoffs are difficult for employees and employers alike. In these tough economic times, some employers are trying to help employees during layoffs and help prevent the permanent loss of good employees by implementing supplemental unemployment benefit plans.

Employees who run out of FMLA leave and are fired under a policy requiring mandatory dismissal for excessive absences may be invited to apply for other open positions when they recover enough to work. Be careful how you handle those reapplications, especially if one of the terminated employees was off because she was pregnant and ran out of leave before being able to return.

Now that the Democrats have lost their 60-vote supermajority in the Senate, it will be that much more difficult for the Obama administration to make good on many of its pro-employee campaign promises. But this still could be a key year for Democratic plans to revamp our national employment laws. Here are seven key initiatives pending in Congress and what they could mean for your business if they become law.

Suicide ranks as the 11th leading cause of death in the United States and it peaks around this time of year. So what do you do if you learn one of your employees brandished a gun and threatened suicide, but a doctor released him back to work in a week? Shouldn’t you be concerned about safety? One court warned, “a doctor’s note… is a doctor’s note” and terminating that worker could spark an ADA claim …

Employees sometimes think taking FMLA leave—or even just asking for the time off—protects them from being disciplined or discharged. But Congress never intended the FMLA to act as a shield against legitimate discipline that’s unrelated to the leave. That’s why you’re free to discipline or discharge employees if you can prove you would have taken the same action regardless of the FMLA leave or request.