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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Some employees are difficult, always skating on thin ice. They’re disruptive, don’t listen to directions and pretty much do whatever they want. Even so, employers often hesitate to fire such troublemakers if they’ve recently requested FMLA leave or claimed to be disabled. Don’t be manipulated into keeping those bad apples.

Managers, supervisors and HR professionals, beware: Courts are cracking down on employers that punish employees who serve in the military. One way is by clarifying that those who participate in hiring and firing decisions may be held personally liable for violating USERRA.

In a victory for employers, the New York Court of Appeals has limited the reach of both the New York state and New York City human rights laws. The issue arose when Manhattan-based Parade magazine terminated Howard Hoffman, who claimed he was fired because of his age.

Sometimes, you don’t know how lousy an employee was until he or she is gone. That may be when you find out about missing work, or even missing money. Or you may discover that the employee was essentially dishonest. If that’s the fact, promptly document what you discovered—just in case there is a later lawsuit.

Does your organization have strict honesty rules designed to prevent employee theft and fraud? If so, rest assured that you’ll have just cause for firing employees who break those rules. And that means they won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation.

In North Carolina, union employees have to use their contracts to pursue claims they were unfairly fired. They can’t do what at-will employees can do—sue for wrongful termination.

Not every discrimination claim turns out to be true. Some may be exaggerated, others just downright false. If you investigate a complaint and conclude that it was untrue, you can and should discipline the employee.

Here’s some good news that will make it easier for employers that want to challenge unemployment compensation claims after firing an employee for misconduct. The HR representative who conducted the investigation can testify about what others said, provided that any written statements are also presented.

Do you think some employees may be taking advantage of your paid leave plan? If so, it’s OK to set up a surveillance program to catch the worst offenders. Just make sure you document why a particular employee’s behavior is suspicious. Good reasons to check up include “coincidental” timing like absences clustered around weekends or holidays.

In these difficult economic times, if you have to conduct a reduction in force, think carefully about how you select those who will be terminated, especially if you anticipate bringing some workers back when the financial picture improves. For example, don’t tell employees they were picked for layoffs because their work was substandard. Use a gentler approach.

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