FIRING

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?

Provide full info to termination consultants

05/07/2015
Outside consultants who specialize in the tricky business of terminations can help small employers when it’s time to let go of an individual employee or implement a larger layoff. But before you act on outside advice, do make sure you provide all the relevant information to the consultant.

Can you fire employee for threatening suicide?

05/05/2015
What should you do if you learn one of your employees brandished a gun and threatened suicide, but a doctor released him back to work? Shouldn’t you be concerned about safety? Let's examine a recent case.

Use last-chance agreement so you and your employee can push reset button at work

04/29/2015
In cases where you may be concerned about a lawsuit over firing an employee, consider instead a last-change agreement. Think of it as hitting the reset button. Both the employer and the employee have one last chance to save the relationship.

Employee has to miss work for jury duty: Am I allowed to terminate him?

04/13/2015
Q. One of my employees has informed me that she received a jury duty summons and must be absent from work to serve. Can I discharge my employee for being absent from work while serving as a juror?

Fire away if employee says bullet 'has your name on it'

04/09/2015
To prevent violence at work, many employers prohibit even indirect threats. That’s perfectly legal.

Accepting suspension doesn't equal admission of guilt

04/01/2015
Employees who lose their jobs be­­­­cause of willful misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits. But whether misconduct occurred can be called into question by any agreement the employer and employee may have signed calling for a suspension instead of termination.

Think long and hard before firing harassment victim for fighting back

04/01/2015
Sometimes, an employee may feel as if she has no viable option except to fight back against a bully or harasser. That puts you, as the employer, in a difficult spot. Do you launch a full-scale investigation, try to sort out which employee is telling the truth and then fire the one you believe most culpable? If that’s the employee who physically struck the other, you may be making the wrong choice.

Document who made firing decision ... and why

03/30/2015
Courts want to know exactly who decided the employee should be terminated, as well as the rationale.

When terminating public-sector employees, be careful how you announce their departure

03/11/2015

Government workers have more protections than other employees when it comes to termination. For example, if a public employee is falsely charged with some form of misconduct, she may have a l­awsuit. By all means, resist the temptation to make an example out of the fired employee.

Establish clear record of who made termination decision and why employee had to go

03/10/2015
Courts don’t like conflicting reasons for termination, or confusion over who made the decision. They want to know exactly who decided the employee should be terminated and why. Create a clear who-and-why record before you fire.
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