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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR LAW Weekly
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Employee’s decision to file lawsuit in justice court may backfire

A worker can’t add additional claims to her case on appeal that go over the dollar limit for justice court cases.

Always record the date when you made a decision to fire

Do you note the date and time of every termination decision? If not, you should.

Be sure to document reasons that led to your decision to terminate

No matter how fair you have been, always assume an employee who has been disciplined will sue, alleging some form of discrimination. Be prepared!

Many reasons for firing? Document them all

When terminating a worker, you don’t need to give her an exhaustive list of offenses. However, you should internally document all the reasons for firing her, in case you need to offer them as evidence later.

Employee doesn’t return after FMLA runs out? OK to fire for violating attendance policy

If for some reason an employee doesn’t return to work at the end of his FMLA entitlement, then the employer is free to enforce a no-show, voluntary-quit rule based on the absences.

Feel free to consider past discipline when rehiring staff you previously laid off

When workers apply for other, open positions that they’re at least marginally qualified for, their past disciplinary history may be a good reason to not rehire them.

Document time of performance problems in case employee registers bogus complaints

Employees who face discipline sometimes fight back with their own discrimination complaints. Terminating such an employee shortly afterward can look suspiciously like the complaint precipitated the discipline. The best way to prevent that impression is to carefully document the reasons for the disciplinary meeting in the first place.

Fired employee sues? Consider counter-claim

If you have good records showing exactly how you decided to terminate and can explain why you terminated an employee without stating the underlying reasons, you may be able to bring that up if she sues.

Document each step of the RIF process

Chances are an employee won’t be able to make discrimination charges stick if you can clearly show 1) when you chose who to terminate and 2) for what legitimate business reason.

Fire if manager falsifies employee hours worked

Time clocks and other time-tracking systems are designed to ensure workers receive all the pay they are entitled to. Manipulating those systems can easily lead to huge back-pay awards.