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Firing

Tread carefully with pregnant underperformer

06/17/2011

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) can help turn around subpar employees. But if you use PIPs, make sure you implement them equitably. For example, if you place a sales­person on a PIP to raise falling sales, then institute a PIP for everyone whose sales have fallen to the same level. That’s especially important if one of the employees is about to take FMLA leave or is pregnant.

Is Brooklyn Botanical Gardens fertile ground for bias?

06/17/2011
The former head of security at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens has filed a lawsuit claiming the institution discriminates against blacks, and that he was fired in part because of his age.

Employee cites mental distress? Ask for mental exam

06/16/2011
Employees who sue but can’t show they suffered any monetary damages sometimes claim mental distress instead. Fortunately, courts don’t just take their word it, especially if the employee claims she had to undergo psychiatric treatment.

It takes more than protected status to win lawsuit

06/15/2011
Here’s some good news for employers. Courts are beginning to toss out more lawsuits in the early stages if it becomes clear an employee has no case. Judges are telling employees they have to come to court with real facts—not just allegations they were discriminated against.

Ensure romance rules protect against association bias

06/15/2011
Consider this when writing policies: Employees can sue if their employer discriminates against them because of their “association” with a member of a protected class. And that association can include dating and other intimate relationships.

Learn from public employee’s ‘reputation’ suit–even if you’re a private-sector employer

06/15/2011

Government employees have some rights that private-sector employees don’t have, including so-called liberty and property interests in their jobs. That can include the right to a hearing and an opportunity to present their side of the story before being discharged. It also includes the right to preserve their reputations.

When misbehavior demands termination, it’s best to stick with one reason for firing

06/10/2011
Here’s an important reminder to heed when you must discipline employees: If an employee commits a major rule violation that justifies termination, rely on that reason alone. Resist the temptation to pile on additional reasons. It may make defending a lawsuit that much easier.

OK to fire on basis of some taped phone calls

06/10/2011

Illinois has strict laws against recording telephone conversations without permission. But those laws allow recording if a party to the conversation believes a crime is being or is about to be committed. In some cases, that means you can use a recorded phone call as the basis for termination.

What can we do to protect ourselves? A worker leveled threats after we fired him

06/08/2011
Q. We recently fired an employee because of insubordination and anger-management issues. The termination meeting, not surprisingly, didn’t go well and the employee became very agitated. He made some statements that could be interpreted as vague threats against his supervisor and our company. Is there anything we can or should do to protect ourselves from this former employee?

Employees can’t demand specific schedule

06/08/2011
Employees sometimes think that employers have to accommodate all their schedule requests. Not usually. Often, employees fired for refusing to work their scheduled hours expect to receive unemployment benefits.