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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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It’s always wise to keep careful records showing exactly why you terminate employees. They’re crucial if an employee ever sues. By showing specific reasons why you fired someone, you will be able to show the court that the termination was appropriate.
Before disciplining or discharging an employee based on a supervisor’s recommendation, make sure you independently investigate the reason. That’s the only surefire way to avoid “rubber-stamping” a biased supervisor’s hidden agenda.

When you have to investigate allegations that may lead to termination, it’s a good practice to conduct that investigation as independently as possible. That often means you will have to leave out of the picture any supervisors who have a negative history with the employee.

When employees take FMLA leave (or other time off related to a disability), make sure you adjust any work deadlines. Otherwise, you risk a retaliation claim.
Sometimes, it’s obvious that a disciplinary policy isn’t working. Occasionally, management’s ideas about discipline evolve. When you do replace your discipline policy, make sure you document exactly when the change went into effect. That way, an employee who is punished more severely can’t point to the earlier disciplinary actions as evidence he was unfairly singled out.
It’s not up to most managers to write a company’s discipline policy. But it's a manager’s responsibility to interpret, implement and enforce it in a consistent and fair manner. How well do you know your discipline do’s and don’ts? Take this quiz to find out.
Courts don’t want to second-guess employers unless they feel they have no alternative. When an employee charges discrimination based on different treatment because he belongs to a protected class, the court first looks at the employer’s rules and tries to see if they have been enforced consistently.

If you want a termination decision to stand up in court, make sure you carefully document all discipline that occurred before the firing—and do so at the time the discipline occurs. Otherwise, chances are a court or jury may assume the earlier incidents didn’t happen.

It may sound silly, but there’s a very practical reason to be careful when questioning employees during an investigation: Some especially sensitive people may feel they are being held involuntarily—and sue for false imprisonment.
A recent state appellate court decision offers clarification about how employers can handle an employee’s false or exaggerated sexual harassment complaints.
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