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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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An employee who believes she has been fired for discriminatory reasons has the right to sue her employer as soon as she receives a termination notice. That’s true even if the termination isn’t yet effective.
Sometimes, it is up to HR to stop bosses from doing the wrong thing—for example, when he is frustrated because he has to accommodate a disabled worker’s medical restrictions. If the supervisor comes up with an obviously implausible reason to fire the worker, expect trouble.
What not to do when closing down offices in which workers are older than the company average: Mention that eventually you may be able to hire younger replacements at lower cost. That’s just asking for a lawsuit.
When you set out to discipline a worker for breaking a rule, prepare a report that tells the whole story. That’s especially important if you need to justify why one employee received a harsher punishment than others who, in the past, may have committed similar offenses.
Make sure your managers and supervisors clearly and formally communicate their performance expectations. A performance review that criticizes alleged poor work based on expectations that weren’t clearly communicated can become the basis for a lawsuit.
If you haven’t had to interact with EEOC investigators yet, chances are you will eventually. And a supervisor who hasn’t been properly prepared to deal with EEOC investigators can sink your case fast.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals had reinstated a lawsuit against a grain operator based on the suspicious timing of a discharge and the use of what the court thought sounded like a manufactured excuse for not rehiring the worker.
Generally speaking, the law does not tolerate inconsistency very well. That’s one reason it’s so important to be careful about how you explain someone’s termination. If your story changes, don’t be surprised if it winds up being used against you.
Courts don’t want to be in charge of running your business. Generally, if you can put forth a genuine, legal rationale reason for an action—such as terminating an employee for budgetary reasons—courts aren’t going to step in.
If you have a progressive discipline system, give yourself some wiggle room. Make sure you retain the right to immediately terminate an employee when necessary.
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