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!

If you grant time off to employees who aren’t yet eligible for FMLA leave, take note: If they’re on your payroll, their time off counts toward FMLA eligibility. That means that once they hit the one-year mark, they become entitled to those 12 unpaid FMLA weeks—and terminating them could launch an FMLA lawsuit. That wasn’t always the case ...

On April 15, President Obama signed into law amendments that extend eligibility for the 65% COBRA subsidy through May 31. The amendments buy time for Congress to consider additional legislation that could keep the subsidy alive until the end of the year.

When it comes to employment lawsuits, HR is a lot like flying an airplane: The most risky parts of the trip are at the takeoff (hiring) and the landing (dismissal). With hiring, you can limit the employment-law risks by following the legally safe steps and training supervisors to do the same.

Q. We recently received a court order to garnish the wages of an employee who has failed to repay a student loan. I thought that the garnishment of an employee’s wages in Texas was prohibited by law. Is that no longer true?

If you offer severance pay to discharged workers, take note. If you’re terminating an older employee—and you ask the employee to waive the right to sue for alleged age discrimination in exchange for your severance package—be sure to offer something more than what you offer others who lose their jobs.

Sometimes you realize early on that a recent hire is not going to work out. He may have looked good on paper, but isn’t doing well on the job. It may then be time to cut your losses.

Some employees try to fabricate a lawsuit by resigning and then alleging that some form of discrimination made their working conditions so intolerable that they had no choice but to quit. The name of this claim: constructive discharge. Fortunately for employers, it takes more than a few isolated comments to create intolerable conditions. And, as the following case shows, the fear that working conditions will become intolerable isn’t enough to justify quitting before things get bad at work.

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that an arbitration agreement presented as a condition of employment is valid even though it was initially drafted by an HR management company that no longer manages personnel matters. The court looked carefully at the arbitration agreement and concluded it was a binding contract—partly because it contained a clause that allowed the employer to end the agreement prospectively only.

When OSHA said it had received an anonymous complaint about safety conditions at one of Brocon Petroleum’s work sites, executives there had a pretty good idea who made the call. So the Freehold-based company fired the employee. OSHA did not take it well ...

Here’s a cautionary tale if you’re tempted to throw together a quick liability release without paying an attorney.