There’s some good news for employers concerned about retaliation after an employee participates in protected activity such as testifying in another employee’s discrimination lawsuit. If a substantial amount of time has passed since the employee’s testimony, any disciplinary action you take probably won’t be enough to form the basis of a retaliation claim.
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!
A Houston manufacturer will pay $60,000 and provide other relief to settle an EEOC age discrimination lawsuit. According to the EEOC, Metallic Products Corp. had an unlawful mandatory policy that required employees to retire when they reached age 70.
Looks like the National Basketball Association will make up for time lost to the lockout by playing on both the basketball and legal courts for the next few months. A former NBA security official claims his firing last summer was retaliation for reporting sexual harassment incidents.
Minneapolis-based grocery chain Supervalu faces a lawsuit from a former employee at a distribution center in Pennsylvania. Long-time employee Terri Wolfinger claims the company changed the lifting requirements in her job description to prevent her from returning to work after she injured her arm.
Under Minnesota’s Whistleblower Act, employees who report alleged employer wrongdoing to their employer or the government are protected from retaliation. Those employees don’t have to be right about their allegations—they just have to act in good faith. If their allegations have an “objective basis in fact,” they are protected by the law.
Some employees facing criticism will own up to the problem and work to improve. Others simply refuse to recognize that their performance is subpar or contributing to discord in the workplace. Either way, it’s worth at least extending to the employee a chance to improve and keep his job—after you have documented the nature of the problem.
Make this a mantra in your organization: The same person who hired an employee should be the one to fire him if necessary. Here’s why:
If you have employees who deal directly with customers, how they handle those interactions may be grounds for dismissal. When a customer complaint plays a role in a discharge decision, make sure you can locate that customer later. Customers’ testimonies can be powerful in court because juries tend to view customers as impartial.
If two employees break the same workplace rule, they should receive the same punishment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t distinguish between degrees of culpability. It’s perfectly fine to terminate an employee who has a long history of rule breaking and retain another because it’s a first offense.
If a supervisor believes an employee has such a negative attitude that it warrants firing, do your HR duty! Immediately ask for documentation of the problem. It can’t wait until after the termination occurs. After-the-fact, subjective assessments may not survive a court challenge.