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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Some employers don’t necessarily want to confront an employee directly when they suspect that he may be engaged in illegal activity. The threat of violent reprisal is very real. If you fire the employee, he may sue, alleging some form of discrimination. But if you have documented why you did what you did, chances are the lawsuit will be dismissed.
While employers have an obligation to offer reasonable accommodations to help employees who are disabled, it doesn’t follow that disabled employees can keep their jobs if they simply can’t get work done. But termination often causes a disability discrimination lawsuit. Be prepared to show exactly how poor the employee’s performance really was.