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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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Do you suspect a rogue supervisor is driving away employees belonging to a protected class? If so, begin asking tougher questions during your exit interviews. For example, if several black employees who work under the same supervisor have quit or requested transfers, find out why. The problem may be a biased supervisor ...

A former school bus driver is suing the Nacogdoches Independent School District, arguing she was fired because of a dire medical condition. She accuses the school district of firing her for exercising her right to medical leave due to a serious health condition under the FMLA. The suit also alleges disability discrimination, race discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract and violations of the Texas Labor Code.
Q. I just terminated an employee and it was an ugly, public scene. Do you have any tips for making termination meetings easier?
The recent 7th Circuit decision in Lindsey v. Walgreen Co. addresses the cat’s paw theory of liability in the context of an age discrimination claim. The court held that a supervisor who decided to fire an employee was not the “cat’s paw” because she did not rely solely on the employee’s allegedly biased supervisor.
Remember this the next time you have to terminate an employee: If you plan to prepare a post-discharge summary, don’t succumb to the temptation to add new reasons to justify the firing. Post-discharge memos should simply describe the decision and how you carried it out, not look like an attempt to justify a decision made earlier.
Q. We want to fire a bad worker, and we don’t want to take an unemployment comp hit. Under California law, when can a terminated worker be denied unemployment benefits?
Q. Is there a law that requires a 45-day waiting period from the time employees are told they’ll be laid off until they receive the severance payment? My supervisor said it’s called a cooling-off period.
Here’s a practice you should make standard operating procedure: Have the same manager who makes hiring decisions also make the firing decisions. Doing so will cut the chances of a successful discrimination lawsuit.

Employees who experience retaliation after complaining about bias can sue and win, even if it turns out there was no basis for the original discrimination complaint. The retaliation doesn’t even have to be something serious such as a demotion or firing. It can be something as subtle as lost training opportunities.

Terminating employees is never easy. Not only do you have to think about the employee’s reaction and those of co-workers who may be worried about their own jobs, you also have to worry whether the employee will sue and how to minimize the risk. One area you have control over is making sure that every terminated employee receives legally mandated termination notices. Here’s a quick guide.

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