FIRING

Feel free to discipline--or fire--disabled worker who disrupts and threatens co-workers

01/26/2015
Don’t let a disabled employee get away with behavior you wouldn’t tolerate in other employees. There’s no reason to put up with threats and intimidation.

You don't have to wait for prosecution: Go ahead and fire violent worker

01/22/2015
Has an employee been arrested for threatening behavior involving a co-worker? You don’t have to wait for the criminal trial and conviction to discipline the employee. You don’t even have to reconsider if police drop the charges. What matters is that you have an honest belief the worker broke company conduct rules—even if you end up being wrong.

After firing, can you erase a worker's phone?

01/15/2015
Employees are increasingly using their personal smartphones for work purposes. But when employees depart, those phones may contain a wealth of confidential company data. What to do?

Firing right after EEOC complaint? That's an invitation to trouble

01/06/2015
If you happen to make the final termination decision immediately after an employee files an EEOC complaint, timing alone may be enough to send the case to trial.

No such thing as too many reasons to fire

01/05/2015

Sometimes, employers make mistakes and fire employees for a reason later deemed illegal. But if that same employer finds evidence after the fact that would have supported the termination decision on its own, that may serve as a get-out-of-jail card.

Insubordination is grounds for denying unemployment

12/24/2014
Employers can terminate employees for insubordination, and that can include walking out of meetings to discuss performance issues. In turn, being insubordinate can mean denial of unemployment compensation.

Being placed on performance improvement plan isn't grounds to claim 'constructive discharge'

12/24/2014
Courts don’t allow employees to use constructive discharge as an excuse to quit unless they can off substantial reasons why they felt they had no choice but to resign.

Don't wait for prosecution: Fire violent worker

12/08/2014
Has an employee been arrested for threatening behavior involving a co-worker? You don’t have to wait for the criminal trial and conviction to discipline the employee. You don’t even have to reconsider if the police drop the charges. What matters is that you have an honest belief that the em­­ployee broke company conduct rules—even if you end up being wrong.

When disciplining, focus on words and actions

12/02/2014
Judges don’t expect you to put up with potentially dangerous employees. But if an employee believes he’s really being punished for something other than behavior, be careful. Focus on the employees’ actual behavior, not subjective “feelings” you got when observing him.

Dress Codes

12/01/2014

HR Law 101: Workplace dress codes touch on a variety of issues, including workplace safety, freedom of speech, personal hygiene, customer relations, religious freedom, the minimum wage and racial and gender stereotypes. Employers have a number of legitimate reasons for imposing a dress code, but court rulings have limited their options...

Sloppy firing leads to suit? Offer reinstatement

11/10/2014

Here’s a tactic to limit the damage in a case of a firing gone wrong: Unconditionally offer to reinstate the employee. If she declines, you may not have to pay future lost wages after the offer date. The key is making sure there are absolutely no strings attached to the invitation to return to work.

No need to satisfy every gender-bias demand

11/05/2014
Of course you should strive to keep your workplace free of discrimination, but you don’t have to satisfy unreasonable equity requests.

Firing whistle-blower? Prepare for court

10/31/2014

Generally, Pennsylvania employees who aren’t union members or don’t have a written employment agreement are at-will employees who can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. There’s one major exception: Employers can’t fire at-will employees because of their protected characteristics. But there is a second exception gaining prominence in court cases.

Seizure disorder raises safety issue: Can we fire?

10/23/2014
Q. A new employee just told us she has a seizure disorder. Our facility works with vulnerable adults and the new employee would be required to drive them. This poses a risk potential for the client’s safety. Can we terminate this person or do we need to figure out an accommodation? The employee hasn’t asked for any yet.

What should we do? Employee is missing work because of what we suspect is domestic abuse

10/14/2014
Q. We have a female employee who is having personal problems and keeps missing work. She sometimes comes to work with visible bruises, and we suspect her spouse is abusive. While we’re sympathetic, we also have important work that isn’t getting done and the employee’s last-minute absences are a problem. We’ve told her how important attendance is, but the problem isn’t going away. Can we fire her?
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