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!

Before terminating an employee who has recently filed a discrimination claim, consider whether the timing may provoke a retaliation lawsuit. Generally, the closer in time to the complaint a termination occurs, the more likely a court will order a jury trial. You may still terminate the employee—if you’re sure that’s appropriate.

Tim Murnane left real estate development firm Opus Northwest in June 2009 after negotiating a $2 million severance package to be paid out over 10 years. Murnane took a new position with St. Louis-based Clayco Inc., another developer in the Twin Cities area. All was going well until March, when a scheduled $79,266 payment from Opus failed to arrive in Murnane’s mailbox ...

Employees may be disabled under the ADA if surgery or another medical condition forces them to use the bathroom frequently. The condition affects a major life activity—elimination of wastes.

Ordinarily, managers who have the authority to make personnel decisions aren’t held personally liable for sexual harassment under Title VII. But that’s not necessarily the case under the New York State Human Rights Law. If you’re an HR professional with the power to make recommendations on hiring applicants or firing employees, make sure you don’t ignore sexual harassment claims that come your way.

Some employees quit and then argue that they had no choice but to do so. This is known as “constructive discharge.” Such a claim can succeed in court if the employee can show that working conditions became so intolerable that quitting was the only reasonable response. But an employee can’t quit and claim constructive discharge just because he’s facing potential disciplinary action.

Q. We have a new administrative employee in our medical office who missed 22 days of work in her first nine weeks. She has doctor excuses for illnesses for most of the days, but my front office is a shambles. Can I put her on written warning for excessive absences? Can I terminate her?
Employees who allege they were terminated because they belong to a protected class will have a tough time winning the lawsuit if their replacement belongs to the same class—at least when the new hire comes on board before the terminated employee files her EEOC complaint or lawsuit.

Under many federal employment laws, employees don’t have to be fired to sue for wrongful termination. Instead, they can claim constructive discharge, alleging they had no choice but to quit. But that argument won’t fly for employees who try to sue their Illinois employers for common-law wrongful termination.

Your best employees are probably eager for promotions. But when only one slot is open, promotions often leave several well-qualified candidates disappointed. To keep disappointment from leading to lawsuits, consider offering career coaching for those employees who didn’t make the cut.
Good news for employers: When an Ohio employee sues for alleged discrimination under state, federal or local anti-discrimination laws, he can’t also add claims that he was wrongly terminated in violation of public policy. The other laws are his sole remedy.