TERMINATIONS

Easy hack: Former employees often keep network access

08/03/2015
It’s Item No. 1 on the termination checklist: Ensure former employees can’t get into the computer system. But only about half of IT administrators say they completely cut off network access the same day an employee is terminated.

School boards have wide latitude to terminate teachers for financial reasons

07/29/2015
A Texas appellate court has upheld the discharge of a teacher for financial reasons. The case shows school districts have great discretion to determine which employees to cut and don’t have to be bogged down in a detailed examination.

Lawsuit repellent: Promotion, praise, pay raise

07/24/2015
Employers that praise employees for a job well done and provide pay increases along with promotions rarely lose so-called constructive discharge lawsuits. That’s because an employee who has been praised and rewarded will have a tough time claiming her working conditions were so onerous that she had to quit.

In Dakota County firing, good HR results in bad PR

07/22/2015
Dakota County’s community development director was recently fired amid allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment. Once word got out that the county intended to terminate him, reporters clamored for details. County officials delayed, noting that the director would remain on the payroll for 60 days following their decision. The county then extended his contract for another week ...

Settlement deal required resignation? No unemployment benefits for former employee

07/22/2015

Workers whose employers make it unbearable to come to work are still eligible for unemployment compensation. That’s called constructive discharge. But what about an employee who files an EEOC complaint alleging unbearable working conditions and then settles the case for a lump-sum payment in exchange for resigning? According to a recent Minnesota decision, that’s a voluntary resignation, blocking benefits.

Stop bogus suits with good discipline records

07/22/2015

It happens regularly: An employee is facing escalating discipline and fears for her job—so she files a surprise sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuit, hoping to stop her firing. But you can fire her—if you can provide complete disciplinary records to justify that the decision had nothing to do with her complaint.

Before firing, investigate discharge recommendation

07/22/2015
If you rely on a boss to make a firing recommendation and don’t independently investigate, you risk terminating someone because of the supervisor’s hidden bias. That can mean a large jury award. At least give the employee a chance to tell his side of the story.

Should we terminate an admitted drug user?

07/09/2015
Q. Following a recent accident on our loading dock, an employee admitted he used marijuana before his shift. Afterward, the employee and the ­others involved were required to submit to a for-cause drug test pursuant to our drug testing policy. The employee who admitted being high failed the drug test. However, there was an irregularity with our testing vendor, and it was not able to complete the confirmatory re-test of the employee’s specimen. Can we terminate the employee who admitted to working under the influence of marijuana?

Failure to call off is employment misconduct

07/09/2015
Employees who don’t call off work as company rules require may be guilty of misconduct. That means they lose the right to unemployment compensation if they are fired.

Discipline and discharge: 5 do's and don'ts

07/06/2015
We live in an era when employees have more power than ever—which has made it more legally tricky to come down on them when you need to send a message.

Court upholds firing in medical marijuana case

06/15/2015
In a case with important implications for employers in states where medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal, the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that an employee who was fired after testing positive for cannabis does not have to be rehired.

Document details to differentiate discipline

06/09/2015

You probably have specific rules that spell out discipline for common violations. That doesn’t mean you can’t tailor the punishment to each individual situation. The key is to document the details that justify why one employee who broke a rule was punished more harshly than someone else who broke the same rule.

How to handle recently uncovered work problems

06/05/2015

Sometimes, it looks like an employee has been performing just fine—until someone discovers that her work was really subpar all along. Before you discipline or fire the worker, document what you discovered (and when) so you can explain away prior good performance reviews.

Another reason to keep good records: Proving when you made decision to terminate

05/29/2015

Could you explain to a court exactly when you decided to fire an employee? If not, you need a system for tracking your decision-making process. That can be invaluable, as this case shows.

Spontaneous wage protest: Can we fire the agitator who stirred up his co-workers?

05/25/2015
Q. We are a nonunion company with a call center employee who has been stirring things up. Recently, he and a large group of first-shift employees stayed in the parking lot instead of coming back from lunch on time. A few of them held up signs saying, “Fair Wages Now!” We’d like to fire the bad apple. Are we taking any big risks if we do?
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