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Document firing decision at the time you make it

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in Firing,Human Resources

Make sure you document exactly when and why you decided to terminate an employee, even if you must wait until later to tell the employee.

Recent case: Jamie Lichtenstein worked for a psychiatric clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Attendance was crucial because of legally mandated staffing levels.

Lichtenstein was often tardy, frequently called in sick and demanded schedule changes. Management concluded she was wreaking havoc with her attendance issues and decided to terminate her before her next shift began. However, she didn’t show up because her mother was suddenly hospitalized.

She was terminated a few days later, after her mother returned home and needed Lichtenstein’s care.

She sued, alleging FMLA interference. But the court said she had no case since the termination decision had already been made before she needed FMLA leave. (Lichtenstein v. University of Pittsburgh, No. 09-1350, WD PA, 2011)

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