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Firing

Stick to your story: Shifting explanations for terminations are lawsuit red flags

02/18/2014

One of the worst things you can do when you fire an employee is to provide shifting explanations for the discharge. The best approach: Talk to your lawyer before you terminate, to clarify exactly what your reasons are.

Consistency is key when firing for performance

02/14/2014
Poor performance sounds like a legitimate reason to fire someone. That doesn’t mean the employee won’t sue. If that happens, you must be prepared to show that other em­­ployees who held the same position and had similar performance issues were also terminated. If not, you had better be able to explain why.

Can we fire employee because he was arrested?

02/07/2014
Q. An employee called out for one day because he’d been arrested on a domestic violence charge. He did not violate the attendance policy. This man has been rumored in the office to be an abuser, and the police have been called to his home other occasions. He is an at-will employee. Can we realistically fire him if he’s broken none of our rules? 

Can we fire worker who gave notice and promptly started slacking off?

02/05/2014
Q. One of our employees gave us a two-week notice because he found another job. However, now the employee is unmotivated and not focused on his work. Can we let him go before the two-week period is up?

How to dodge an FMLA bullet: Consider granting after-the-fact leave request

02/05/2014

Sometimes, simple medical procedures turn out to be not so simple after all. A few days off for outpatient surgery may morph into a lengthy FMLA leave and render the employee disabled. Don’t jump the gun and terminate the employee without considering whether he’s now entitled to FMLA leave and reasonable accommodations.

Firing: You don’t have to be right, just honest

01/28/2014

Employees don’t always see eye to eye on discipline, performance appraisals or other workplace issues. But as long as you reasonably be­­lieve that your discipline was appropriate or your evaluation was on the money, you have little to fear. Simply put, the employee doesn’t get to second-guess your reasons.

Now what? Bad former employee wants a reference

01/24/2014
Q. I received a call from an employee I recently fired, letting me know she listed me as a reference. She was terminated because of performance. Can I disclose that information to a potential employer?

Difficult employee broke your rules? No need to fear legitimate termination

01/24/2014

Do you have a difficult employee you just know is going to sue you if you fire him? That’s no reason to treat him with kid gloves. Just make sure you have a rock-solid reason for the discharge. You may still be sued, but the case likely won’t go far.

The evidence is on Facebook: Can we fire for inappropriate behavior while wearing our logo?

01/22/2014
Q. One of our employees recently posted a picture of himself on Facebook doing something inappropriate while wearing a T-shirt with our company logo on it. The inappropriate conduct didn’t occur at a work event, but we’re concerned that the T-shirt connects us to the conduct. We would like to fire him immediately, but we hesitate because the termination is based on his personal Facebook page.

Beware discipline immediately after complaint

01/22/2014
Before you authorize disciplinary action against an employee who has just complained about discrimination or harassment, prepare for a legal fight. If you follow through and the employee sues, few courts will quickly dismiss the case.