Firing
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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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Employers that have well-documented business reasons for every discharge typically win lawsuits that allege discrimination. Good records force employees to prove that an allegedly legitimate reason for firing was a pretext for covering up discrimination.

A federal trial court hearing a Texas case has concluded that employers can’t use expert testimony to tell a jury that a discharge was justifiable based on a review of a worker’s employment records. That’s for a jury to decide.

Former employees who sue over their discharge sometimes try to use their employers’ shifting explanations for the termination as evidence that they were fired for discriminatory reasons.

Employees with disabilities who are also eligible for FMLA leave have limited protection from discharge if they miss work because of complications related to their disabilities. However, employers also have a legitimate right to expect workers to show up for work most of the time.

If your employee handbook or job-offer letters say new hires will face a probation period of, say 60 or 90 days, you should consider dropping that policy.

Employees can’t quit and claim constructive discharge just because conditions at work became uncomfortable. But what level of discomfort is required?

Workers who are fired for breaking a workplace rule generally aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. That’s because rule-breaking may constitute willful misconduct, which bars benefits.

Former “Prairie Home Companion” host Garrison Keillor alleges his firing from Minnesota Public Radio was completed without a proper investigation of sexual harassment allegations made against him.

Employees who are out on FMLA leave don’t enjoy any special protection against being fired for unrelated reasons. If you can show you would have terminated the worker even if she had not taken FMLA leave, chances are the termination won’t be seen as FMLA interference or retaliation for taking FMLA leave. However, such a move will probably trigger a lawsuit anyway.

Think an employee’s ultimatum a­­mounts to quitting in a huff? Maybe, maybe not­. If a dispute transforms into a lawsuit, it may be up to a judge or jury to determine if an em­­ployee really resigned or was just blow­­ing off steam.

Businesses must stay abreast of an alphabet soup of federal laws—ADA, ADEA, FMLA and so forth—each with its own requirements. Further complicating matters, most states have their own laws that override the federal requirements. To comply, you first must know which laws apply to your business.

Q. An older employee has been having significant performance issues during the performance cycle. She is eligible for retirement, but does not want to retire. Can we require her to retire in lieu of termination?

Sometimes, an employee with a blemished disciplinary history may think he will be protected from termination if he takes FMLA leave. But the FMLA right to return isn’t absolute.

A nurse who makes a report under the Texas Occupations Code is protected from discipline because of that report. Discipline within 60 days is presumed to be retaliation. However, employers can rebut this presumption by showing the discipline was not related to the report.

A progressive discipline system is the best way to correct employee performance problems. It’s also the best way to protect against wrongful termination lawsuits. It allows you to ensure that any employee fired because of inferior performance was treated fairly and in accordance with your company’s policies. Here’s a five-step model for progressive discipline:

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a state’s employment laws barring discharge for whistleblowing isn’t preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act.
A Minnesota appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged a state law providing teachers with tenure protection. A group of parents had claimed that the law violated their children’s rights to an education because tenure made it difficult to get rid of ineffective teachers.
Employees out on FMLA leave don’t enjoy more job protection than employees who don’t take leave. As long as an employer doesn’t terminate because an employee took FMLA leave, it’s perfectly lawful to fire someone during leave.
In Pennsylvania, employment is presumed to be at-will, meaning employers can terminate workers for any legal reason or no reason at all. There is one exception, however. The so-called public policy exception provides protection from termination if an employee files a workers’ compensation claim.
What kind of investigation, if any, is required before an employer can fire a worker for what it believes is some kind of misconduct?
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