In all states but Montana, employees are generally considered to be have “at will” employment meaning that either party (the employee or the employer) can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, and for any reason or no reason at all (outside of reasons prohibited by law). Most employers have established policies to create the at will employment as it is beneficial both to the business and the employees. In other cases employers create employment contracts with employees which generally specifically address reasons for termination and how a termination should be handled. Continue reading
When an employee quits their job voluntarily or is terminated involuntarily by their employer, it is important for an employer to know the rules regarding any final wages owed to the employee.
Each state’s wage and hour laws determine when and how the final payments are made. Many states have different rules for voluntary resignations and involuntary terminations. For example, some states require a check to be given at the time of termination when the termination is involuntary but don’t require final payment to be paid to an employee who is voluntarily quitting until the next regularly scheduled pay date. Continue reading
Firing an employee is never an easy task, however there are certain mistakes you can make which can land your company in hot water. Read the list below of 13 of the most common mistakes managers make when terminating an employee. Continue reading
Do these two policies look familiar to you? Do they resemble policies you’ve seen in employee handbooks, or which might be in your employee handbook?
- “Terminated employees will not be given their final paycheck until they have completed the exit interview and have returned all property belonging to the employer.”
- “Payday is every Thursday. However, if you are repeatedly absent on Friday, your paycheck may not be issued until Friday.”
Disciplining employees by attaching strings to their paychecks is a common practice among some employers. After all, what better way to discipline employees than by putting their paychecks at risk? But the actual risk is to the employer. Continue reading
Most employers use only three choices when it comes to dealing with problem employees: oral warning, written warning (as in, “I’m writing you up!”) and firing.
But there’s a better approach. Arm yourself and all managers and supervisors with a progressive discipline procedure – including seven choices.
It can not be stressed enough how important it is to have thorough documentation in an employee’s file, especially prior to an involuntary termination. You may have heard before, “If it isn’t in writing, it didn’t happen” and this is often true when it comes to lawsuits for alleged discrimination, wrongful termination, etc.
The problem is, a lot of managers don’t know how to document, or even worse – what to document.
It’s a common scenario: you hire an employee for a position and after their training period they continuously make mistakes and do not meet your performance expectations. The poor performance could be for a number of reasons: they need further training, they have personal distractions keeping them from performing up to par, or maybe they’re just not the right person for the position at your company. So you decide to terminate their employment and find a new employee to take over their job responsibilities. Without proper documentation to support your termination, you could be facing a number of potential liabilities.
Give employees written warnings before firing them for performance problems. These warnings are your good friends. They help convince an unemployment hearing officer your decision to discharge was for good cause.
But does the language in these warnings give you enough flexibility to fire troublesome employees? Here’s how a written warning might get you into trouble.
So, what are the employer, manager and supervisor to do?
Begin by understanding the concept of wrongful discharge. Wrongful as in illegal and unfair. And discharge, as in termination. So the ex-employee, in filing a legal action against an employer and claiming wrongful discharge is asserting the termination violates a legal right or a legal protection, or violates an employer’s promise or commitment, or violates the unwritten provision in the contract of employment that the employer and the employee will deal fairly with each other.
When it comes to employee terminations, managers often make decisions based on emotion. An employee comes in late, and you’ve had it, so you want to fire her. While that might be allowable, it’s not always advisable, and can result in lawsuits. What if, for example, the employee was late because she was a victim of domestic violence? Or, you didn’t fire that employee who was late for the umpteenth time last week. These and many other factors could gain the employee protection under the law. Let’s take a look at steps you can go through to protect your company when making termination decisions.