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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If you carefully document wrongdoing, you have very little to fear from a lawsuit—even if you’re wrong. That’s because courts don’t demand perfection from employers—just that they act in good faith.

Presumably, when you terminate an employee, you have good reasons for doing so. If you pile on more reasons later, it may look as if you are trying to cover up a discriminatory decision with a host of excuses for why you fired the employee.

Minnesota employees who make good-faith reports about safety concerns are protected from retaliation. Before you approve a termination recommendation, make sure the employee hasn’t recently complained about safety issues. If he has, verify that the discharge reasons are genuine. Otherwise, prepare for a retaliation lawsuit.

Some employees have heard through the legal grapevine that if the going gets tough at work, they can just get going. They believe they can up and quit—and then turn around and sue, claiming that they had no choice but to leave because they were suffering retaliation for taking some protected action. This is an example of “constructive discharge.” But conditions have to be pretty onerous before the tactic works.

Employee theft is a big problem, and it’s natural for employers that catch workers stealing to terminate them. But some of those thieves may still file for unemployment. Challenge such applications on the basis that the firing offense was punishable as a crime. There’s no need for an actual conviction.

Employees will be employees. You can only do so much to keep them from saying and doing boneheaded things. But once they do, must you respond to every single incident? Yes, you should, a court said this week. Otherwise, your actions could show your “indifference” to harassment claims.
Before you even consider firing (or refusing to hire) someone because they might jack up your health insurance costs, count your dollars, not your pennies. You may be staring down a lawsuit that could dwarf whatever premium costs you hoped to avoid.

Employee assistance programs are on the rise as employers cope with higher health care costs—and employees cope with the stresses of an uncertain economy. An expert says four trends will drive EAP change in coming months, bringing cost savings for companies and better care for workers.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, a seemingly great employee makes an awful decision that forces you to terminate her. The key: Be consistent. Letting bad behavior slide because the worker is a stellar performer can trigger a discrimination claim. The best way to show bias played no part in the decision: Document the employee’s unacceptable behavior.

You may be worrying too much about firing an employee right after she files a discrimination complaint! If you can easily show that you would have fired her regardless of her complaint, a court is unlikely to connect her complaint with your decision. And in Texas, timing alone isn’t enough to prove the firing was retaliation.

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