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Firing

Company itself may be liable when CEO is the harasser

06/11/2012
Here’s a difficult situation for even the most experienced HR pro: What should you do if you believe the head of your company is a harasser? There’s no easy answer, as this case shows.

Honestly believe worker lied? It’s OK to terminate him

06/11/2012
Did an employee lie about an illness and abuse FMLA leave? As long as you honestly and in good faith believe the employee was dishonest, your disciplinary decision will hold up in court.

Premarital sex or pregnancy discrimination? One’s protected while the other is not

06/11/2012
There is no freedom from discrimination based on having premarital sex, but there is a right to be free of pregnancy discrimination. It may seem odd, but employers can technically fire someone for behavior that doesn’t meet the employer’s “moral” standards as long as no other protected characteristic is involved.

Beware national-origin bias charges following criticism of accent

06/11/2012
Do you have employees who were born and raised in other countries and who therefore speak English with heavy, foreign-sounding accents? If so, be careful how you approach any discussion about their speech. If supervisors or managers criticize workers’ accents, a national-origin discrimination lawsuit may be in your company’s future.

Don’t count FMLA against attendance record

06/11/2012
Employers that count FMLA-covered absences against employees are interfering with their FMLA rights. Before you make a final termination decision based on poor attendance, make absolutely sure that you have excluded all possible FMLA leave.

Document exactly why you fired employee

06/11/2012

In this economy, employees who have been fired often resort to litigation. Jobs are scarce and litigation looks lucrative. Smart employers protect themselves by carefully documenting exactly why they fired employees.

Track discipline for equitable punishment

06/08/2012

If you had to, could you quickly produce records showing that every employee who broke the same rule received the same punishment? Would you be able to readily explain any deviations? If you hesitated when answering these questions, it’s time for action.

Reporter fired for stripping files EEOC discrimination suit

05/30/2012
A former Houston Chronicle reporter has filed a sex discrimination complaint against the newspaper claiming she was illegally fired for failing to inform her bosses that she was moonlighting—as a stripper.

Court: Union contract limits arbitrator’s role

05/30/2012
In a union workplace, the collective bargaining agreement outlines rights for both employees and the employer. It also defines the powers an arbitrator may have if called on to interpret the contract. If the arbitrator goes too far, a court can reverse his or her decision.

Promises, promises: Well-intentioned words may send fired employee in search of an attorney

05/25/2012

Here’s a valuable tip when discharging an employee: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It can lead to years of needless ­litigation and cost thousands of dollars in legal fees even if you win in the end.