Could you explain to a court exactly when you decided to fire an employee?
If not, you need a system for tracking your decision-making process. That can be invaluable, as this case shows.
Recent case: When he applied for a job, Jose told his potential boss that he was a member the military reserves and would need time off for training exercises.
Soon after he was hired, he missed work for reasons unrelated to military service and was warned about his attendance.
A few months later, he attended military training.
He was scheduled to return on a Monday morning, but overslept after taking medication for a back injury that he aggravated during the training exercise. He never showed up for work.
After he didn’t answer phone calls that morning, Jose’s employer decided to fire him for missing work. Meanwhile, Jose sent a text explaining he was going to the hospital.
When he learned he had been fired, he sued, alleging that his employer had failed to accommodate an injury he had incurred while on military duty.
The court tossed out his lawsuit.
It explained that the employer had made the termination decision before it ever learned Jose might need a reasonable accommodation for the injury. It had no obligation to accommodate a medical problem it didn’t even know existed. (Hernandez v. Results Staffing, No. 4:14-CV-182, ND TX, 2015)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Phrase job offers carefully to avoid confusion, disputes
- Feel free to discipline--or fire--disabled worker who disrupts and threatens co-workers
- Document poor work to make sure firing sticks
- Lawsuit-proof firing: Those who hire should also fire