As the recession continues, many employers have had to turn to reductions in force as an unfortunate yet necessary cost-saving measure. Count on some of those former employees to sue. Employers considering implementing RIFs must understand the legal and practical issues that can trap the unwary. Taking these four steps can minimize the risks of lawsuits:
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!
Some employees who break rules believe they’re immune from firing if someone else committed the same infraction and didn’t get fired. That’s simply not true. What may be a firing offense for one employee doesn’t have to be the last straw for every other employee. The key is to document—at the time—why you made the decision so you can later explain the difference between the two situations.
Q. We’re a nine-physician medical clinic, and we employ a salaried business manager. Her duties include personnel, hiring, firing and office work. We don’t give her comp time or overtime pay. If she takes a partial day off, she must use vacation time (paid time off). Are we handling this correctly?
Some employees get mad when they learn they’re being terminated. Some may even try to abscond with valuable company property or records as a way to retaliate for losing their jobs. That’s why employers should take reasonable measures to protect records and property—even if that means escorting the fired employee out of the building and preventing access to work spaces and equipment.
Even an exhaustive investigation into sexual harassment allegations may not provide enough information to conclusively determine whether harassment actually occurred. That doesn’t mean you can forget the whole thing. Instead, you must explain to the employee who reported the problem what steps you did take. And you must urge her to report any action she believes is retaliation.
When a supervisor allegedly harasses a subordinate, all kinds of things can go wrong. But handled improperly, all fingers often point to employer liability. That’s why it’s vital to act quickly on any subordinate complaint.
Offering an employee a severance payment in exchange for releasing any legal claims won’t be used against you. Courts want to encourage dispute settlement—and if severance offers could be used against employers later in court, cases would rarely be settled.
Sometimes, you have to take a chance on a job applicant because the candidate pool isn’t filled with as much talent as you would like. Everyone knows picking a marginal candidate can turn out to be a mistake. If you find you have to terminate such an employee, have the same person who made the hiring decision also make the termination decision. That reduces the chance of a costly discrimination lawsuit ...
University of Alabama Professor accused of fatally shooting three colleagues and wounding three others. Last week's headlines of the newest workplace shooting serve as a stark reminder to employers of their legal obligations to ensure their staff is safe and free from violence — but how?
A new law enacted late last year extends the “temporary” FUTA surtax for 18 more months. Undoubtedly, we haven’t seen the last FUTA surtax extension from Congress. But with a few smart moves, you can lower your state unemployment tax rate. This will save you money over the long run—whether or not the federal surtax is extended again and again. Here are six ways to keep unemployment tax costs under control: