TERMINATIONS

Must you have 'absolute proof' of harassment before terminating?

08/22/2014
Employers don’t need to worry about establishing an airtight case against an employee who har­asses a co-worker. HR investigations aren’t held to the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of a court.

Put details in performance improvement plan

08/18/2014
You can’t prevent every lawsuit over a discharge, but you can be prepared. That preparation includes making sure you can point to solid, performance-based reasons for every termination. Lay the groundwork first with a performance improvement plan (PIP) and you will be well on your way to showing the court your decision was based on objective, measurable business reasons rather than some kind of prejudice or discrimination.

RIF that shows racial disparity spells trouble

08/14/2014
Sometimes, business conditions require companies to implement reductions in force. Before you put your HR seal of approval on who stays and who goes, be sure that hidden discrimination isn’t influencing the decisions.

Disability accommodation isn't working? It's OK to fire if employee can't do the job

08/07/2014
Sometimes, a disabled employee simply cannot perform his or her job to the standards you legitimately expect. If you make reasonable accommodations and work with the employee to find a way for the employee to successfully perform the essential functions, you have done all you are required to do.

You lost me at 'Hello'

08/04/2014
It may have been one of the worst layoff memos of all time. After beginning with a breezy “Hello there,” Microsoft honcho Stephen Elop’s July 17 all-staff email stumbled obliviously downhill.

What employee thresholds trigger need for notification of plant closings?

07/31/2014
Q. I am the owner of several industrial facilities, but recent financial crises have forced me to have to shut down two of these plants. These closings and subsequent layoffs will affect about 600 employees. Am I re­­quired to notify the employees before laying them off?

Don't tolerate threats and angry behavior

07/31/2014
Sometimes, workplace relationships deteriorate beyond repair. That’s especially true if an employee resorts to angry outbursts or even threats. That’s when it’s time to act.

Outrageous employee behavior? Don't fear quick-trigger discipline

07/30/2014

When faced with misbehaving employees, HR people are always counseled to avoid quick firings and hold tight to the three D’s—document, deliberate and decide. But some workplace behavior is so outrageous that employers must take immediate action.

OK to fire for Facebook complaint about work?

07/23/2014
Q. One of my employees recently made a post on Face­­book expressing his dissatisfaction with his job. In the post, he talked about being paid too little for the amount of work he performs, and that the whole office needs renovating, claiming, “rats don’t even want to work there.” Can I fire him for this, or at least discipline him?

When terminating for insubordination, thwart lawsuit by lining up witnesses

07/18/2014

Always document (in great detail) the incident that prompted a firing. Also, gather as many eye­­witness accounts as possible. More witnesses equal a better foundation for your case.

Separation agreements: Use arbitration agreements instead of claims releases?

07/15/2014
Q. We have seen that some companies are requiring their employees to agree to arbitration rather than a release of claims in their separation agreements. Is this an alternative worth exploring?

Watch out! EEOC takes aim at separation agreements

07/15/2014
To stay out of the cross-hairs, review your separation agreements and revise any language that could be seen as too broad.

Back RIF decisions with sound fiscal reasons--and prepare to explain them in court

07/09/2014
If an employer can present a coherent and rational explanation for why economics—not retaliation—drove a RIF decision, chances are a court won’t second-guess it.

Charging insubordination? Line up witnesses

07/09/2014

When you fire a difficult em­­ployee, there’s a good chance he or she will remain a thorn in your side. Always aim to document the incident that prompted the firing by gathering as many eyewitness accounts as possible.

Words matter when firing disabled employee

07/09/2014
If a disabled employee is about to get the ax for reasons that have nothing to do with her condition, don’t make any comments about her health. Otherwise, it could look like you really fired her because she is disabled—and it could become the basis for a disability discrimination lawsuit.
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