TERMINATIONS

OK to fire for Facebook complaint about work?

07/23/2014
Q. One of my employees recently made a post on Face­­book expressing his dissatisfaction with his job. In the post, he talked about being paid too little for the amount of work he performs, and that the whole office needs renovating, claiming, “rats don’t even want to work there.” Can I fire him for this, or at least discipline him?

When terminating for insubordination, thwart lawsuit by lining up witnesses

07/18/2014

Always document (in great detail) the incident that prompted a firing. Also, gather as many eye­­witness accounts as possible. More witnesses equal a better foundation for your case.

Separation agreements: Use arbitration agreements instead of claims releases?

07/15/2014
Q. We have seen that some companies are requiring their employees to agree to arbitration rather than a release of claims in their separation agreements. Is this an alternative worth exploring?

Watch out! EEOC takes aim at separation agreements

07/15/2014
To stay out of the cross-hairs, review your separation agreements and revise any language that could be seen as too broad.

Back RIF decisions with sound fiscal reasons--and prepare to explain them in court

07/09/2014
If an employer can present a coherent and rational explanation for why economics—not retaliation—drove a RIF decision, chances are a court won’t second-guess it.

Charging insubordination? Line up witnesses

07/09/2014

When you fire a difficult em­­ployee, there’s a good chance he or she will remain a thorn in your side. Always aim to document the incident that prompted the firing by gathering as many eyewitness accounts as possible.

Words matter when firing disabled employee

07/09/2014
If a disabled employee is about to get the ax for reasons that have nothing to do with her condition, don’t make any comments about her health. Otherwise, it could look like you really fired her because she is disabled—and it could become the basis for a disability discrimination lawsuit.

Voluntarily quitting, retiring generally blocks litigation

07/02/2014
Offering the option to resign or retire instead of facing an investigation into alleged wrongdoing doesn’t always block a later lawsuit if the employee accepts—but it usually does. Be prepared to show the resignation or retirement was truly voluntary.

'Resign or be fired': Humane offer or a risky ultimatum?

07/02/2014
Presenting an employee the option to resign or get fired may fall under the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished category. As a new ruling shows, such ultimatums might ultimately give you ulcers in court.

Lost security clearance ends chance to sue for bias

06/24/2014

Some jobs, both in government and in the private sector, require a security clearance from a government agency. Without the proper security clearance, employees aren’t allowed to view sensitive documents. In those cases, a lost security clearance can mean a lost job—with no ability to challenge the termination on discrimination grounds.

Do we have to warn someone before firing?

06/19/2014
Q. Is it OK to terminate an employee without first issuing some kind of a disciplinary warning?

'Just cause' clause may stop firing after 'last chance'

06/16/2014
If your union contract has a “just cause” for termination clause, get the union’s sign-off on a covered employee’s last chance agreement.

Prepare to show you were fair if disabled workers take a hit during RIF

06/16/2014
Sometimes, poor appearances lead to lawsuits. That can certainly be the case when a reduction in force (RIF) seems to disproportionately affect a protected class of workers.

Abused employee: Give her FMLA or let her go?

06/06/2014
Q. An abusive boyfriend sent nude photos of one of our employees to other employees. We’ve deleted everything from our server and blocked his email. But now we have complaints from other employees that we should have fired the employee. We did not. In fact, we let her take FMLA leave due to the depression she suffered. How should we handle these co-worker complaints?

In a layoff, must we provide severance pay?

05/28/2014
Q. Our company is going to lay off several employees. Are we required to provide severance pay to those employees? If we provide severance pay, can we demand that employees sign a severance agreement stating that they will not sue the company?
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