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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Public employees are entitled to due process before they’re fired. But that’s a flexible standard that allows firing for “unacceptable personal conduct.”

Because Texas is an “at-will” state, employers are generally free to fire employees for any reason or no reason. Of course, firing employees under circumstances that would be illegal under any specific employment law won’t fly. But other than that, there is only one other discharge reason that puts employees outside at-will employment: Employers can’t fire employees for refusing to perform an illegal act.

In age discrimination cases, employees only have to show they were replaced by someone younger, or otherwise discharged because of age. You will have a much easier time showing that you had a legitimate reason unrelated to age for terminating the employee if you can cite specific business reasons to back up each part of your decision-making process.
Two employees of a Sprint store chased down and subdued a shoplifter even though they were on break at the time. Heroic? Yes. But also a violation of Sprint company policy, and both men were fired. Employers are within their rights to set such policies, but make sure you enforce such policies consistently to avoid discrimination claims.
It’s pretty obvious that you should not fire an employee who just filed a discrimination claim. But is that rule sealed in cement? One court recently said, “Nope, not if the reason is really, really, really good enough.” So what’s “good enough?”

Federal employment laws can be terribly confusing, particularly because they often have different definitions for the size of a business that is exempt from the law. Use the following list to make sure you’re not spending time and money complying with laws that only apply to larger businesses.

Lots of employers have no-fault attendance policies, which allow a certain number of unexcused absences without any documentation and then punish employees who go beyond allowable limits. No-fault policies are fine … as long as they don’t penalize workers for taking time off that’s protected under the FMLA.

Believe it or not, some employees are under the impression they can use FMLA leave during the summer months to care for their minor children instead of sending them to summer camp or day care. That’s not true unless the child has a serious health condition that prevents participation in camp or day care. Otherwise, parents are expected to make conventional child care arrangements during the summer.

Q. After a recently terminated employee sued our company for discrimination, we undertook a forensic examination of her work-issued laptop. We found, saved in the cache of the web browser, e-mails she sent to her attorney from her web-based, personal and private e-mail account. Can we use these e-mails in the lawsuit?

Online social networking sites provide a variety of benefits to organizations. They can help you collect industry-based knowledge, reach new customers, build your brand and publicize your company’s name and reputation. But those benefits come with their fair share of legal risks. You need a comprehensive social media policy to guide employees on your expectations about their online behavior.