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Firing

Houston defense firm pays up in ‘regarded as disabled’ case

09/04/2012
BAE Systems Tactical Vehicle Sys­­tems of Houston has agreed to settle a disability discrimination suit filed on behalf of a morbidly obese former employee.

Fired employee reinstated? That doesn’t excuse more misbehavior or poor performance

09/01/2012
Take heart if you have ever de­­cided to reinstate an employee or re­­scind discipline because the employee threatened litigation. Doing so won’t wipe clean his disciplinary record or imply that you admitted he’s living up to your expectations.

Worker fired for gross misconduct? No COBRA

09/01/2012
Employers can’t terminate em­­ployees just because a sick dependent increases health insurance costs for the employer. That violates ERISA. But if the employee is terminated for unrelated gross misconduct, he has no ERISA or COBRA claim.

Forsyth sheriff defends firing in motorcycle raffle kerfuffle

08/28/2012
Forsyth County Sheriff Bill Schatz­­man has denied any wrongdoing in the firing of Sgt. Michael T. Russell, an Iraq War veteran. Schatzman claims he fired Russell for “disloyalty.” Russell calls it retaliation.

Remind bosses: No comments about ethnicity

08/28/2012
There are some things supervisors just shouldn’t say even in jest—including anything concerning race, national origin or any other protected characteristic. Comments on those topics regularly come back to haunt employers when employees file discrimination lawsuits.

Is it legal to terminate a highly paid employee just because he earns so much?

08/23/2012

Q. We need to cut costs, and have started to explore trimming our staff, starting with those who earn far more than other employees. Are there any dangers in doing so? Can we legally fire a high-earner because of his salary?

Must we explain our reason for firing?

08/23/2012

Q. We recently terminated an employee. He claims he is legally entitled to a letter outlining the reasons for his discharge. Is he correct?

For unemployment, there’s stupid, then there’s willful

08/23/2012

Employees are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits if they were fired for creating a hostile work environment. That usually amounts to willful misconduct, which disqualifies them from collecting unemployment. But not every crude or stupid action is serious enough to bar benefits, as this case shows.

Suspect employee is scamming FMLA leave? Investigate–and discipline if it’s true

08/23/2012

When an employee takes FMLA leave because her physician says she’s too sick to work and needs to stay home, it’s natural to assume she’ll follow the doctor’s orders. But what if you discover that she isn’t—and is instead working for someone else during her leave? Can you terminate her? Of course.

Document disciplinary details to show why same violation resulted in different punishment

08/14/2012

You probably have some general rules about what employees are and are not allowed to do. If you’re smart, your rules are flexible enough for you to tailor punishment that fits the crime. Faced with such inherent ambiguity, be sure to document the specifics of all discipline.