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Terminations

Is ‘he who hired also fired’ a good defense against discrimination charges?

09/26/2012
Q. If an employee claims he was discriminated against by the same supervisor who hired and fired him, does the employer have a defense to the discrimination claim?

ALL CAPS EMAIL? That’s no credible threat

09/26/2012
How belligerent does an email have to be to warrant firing the sender for willful misconduct and threatening a co-worker? A court has concluded that typing in all capital letters doesn’t necessarily convert a nasty but neutral phrase into a threat.

Reasonable accommodation? Not employee’s call

09/26/2012

Some disabled employees think the ADA allows them to demand a particular accommodation and turn down their employer’s suggestions. That’s not true. Employees don’t have to like the accommodations you propose …

Document solid reasons for firing complainer

09/26/2012
Employees who complain can be annoying, especially if you believe their gripes don’t have merit. But firing such an employee can be dangerous because complaining about discrimination or other legal issues is protected activity that can’t be punished.

Making economic argument for staff cuts? Better make sure the math adds up

09/21/2012
Here’s something for small business owners to consider when purporting to terminate an employee for financial reasons. If the owner spends lavishly elsewhere, that may be evidence that money was just an excuse for a discriminatory termination.

Court: Reporting student’s threat is protected speech

09/20/2012
A teacher who was fired after filing a police complaint against a student who threatened him at school has won the right to a jury trial.

Track poor behavior even after improvement

09/17/2012

Some employees will permanently per­­form and behave better if they believe their jobs are at stake. But for others, the improvement is only temporary. That’s why it is important to track performance and behavior over time.

Can severance deal address unemployment?

09/17/2012
Q. We want to terminate an underperforming employee and are considering offering a severance agreement in which we agree not to contest unemployment benefits and he agrees to resign and release the company from any claims. Is that OK?

Can you fire an employee for smelling like tobacco smoke?

09/17/2012
Since 2007, when Minnesota’s Freedom to Breathe Act took effect, smoking has been banned in Minnesota workplaces. Now, new studies about the harmful effects of “third-hand smoke” have caused some employers to take their no-smoking policies to new heights.

One way to avoid unemployment liability: Offer time off for medical problems

09/17/2012
In Minnesota, an employee who has a medical condition that prevents him from working can still collect unemployment benefits if he quits. But before he quits, he has to tell his employer about the medical problem so the employer has a chance to offer time off and continued employment when he returns.