Have you ever had an employee that was just so over the top that you had to fire them? Maybe they're harassing a fellow employees. Maybe they're giving your customers grief. Maybe they've got a napoleon complex and they're taking it out on a supervisor (never a good idea). Notwithstanding the problems associated with firing someone, sometimes it's the only course of action. The question though is how to do it - these thing must be done delicately.
For instance, in Ion v. Chevron USA, Inc., an employee (Ion) was stressing out on the job and it was determined that he should be placed on FMLA leave. When he was told to fill out the FMLA paperwork, Ion "allegedly" flipped, out (what with being "disgruntled" and all), started harassing everyone, and giving the human resource staff grief. As a result, the Chevron terminated Ion based on his "poor work performance."
At the trial, Chevron lost and summary judgement against Chevron was granted. Chevron appealed and The Fifth Circuit Court reversed the summary judgment. The court said that even if the FMLA thing wasn't in play, there was enough other reasons to dump Ion. I suspect what this means is that being nasty to HR staff is reason enough to fire someone.
If you're an employer and you're looking to terminate someone, might I suggest you take a look at:
- Termination of Employment ( West)
- Workplace Harassment Law (BNA)
- The Essential Guide to Family & Medical Leave (Nolo Press)
- The Essential Guide to Handling Workplace Harassment & Discrimination (Nolo Press)
I suspect, the moral of this story is if you're looking to fire someone, document everything (and I mean every little teensy, weensy, seemingly insignificant detail) and you just might be able to squeak out a win.