Letting an Employee Go
Illustration by Neil Webb

Letting an Employee Go

with Todd Dewett
image
lynda.com's PMI® Program
This course qualifies for 1.50 PDUs towards maintaining PMI® certification. Learn More

Video: Reviewing legality

It's one thing to determine that you want to start the termination process and fire someone. It's another thing altogether to be sure that your actions are in line with relevant state and federal laws, company policies, and any other prevailing norms where you work. Your goal is twofold. First, you want to remove a person or persons from the company who need to be removed. Second, you want to avoid wrongful termination lawsuits. The legal aspects of letting someone go can be very serious.

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Letting an Employee Go
1h 33m Appropriate for all May 01, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

All managers know they need to invest extra resources in developing underperforming employees. But at some point, you need to stop that investment and start the process of letting an employee go. In this course, author and business coach Dr. Todd Dewett walks you through the factors you need to consider and plan for before letting an employee go. He provides advice on preparing your pre-meeting work and conducting the termination meeting to minimize difficulty. The course includes reenactments of a typical termination meeting, showing realistic examples for you to consider.

This course qualifies for 1.5 Category A professional development units (PDUs) through lynda.com, PMI Registered Education Provider #4101.

Topics include:
  • Reviewing legal issues
  • Knowing when termination is appropriate
  • Documenting performance problems
  • Selecting the right time and place
  • Delivering the news
  • Telling the rest of the team

  • The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
Subject:
Business
Author:
Todd Dewett

Reviewing legality

It's one thing to determine that you want to start the termination process and fire someone. It's another thing altogether to be sure that your actions are in line with relevant state and federal laws, company policies, and any other prevailing norms where you work. Your goal is twofold. First, you want to remove a person or persons from the company who need to be removed. Second, you want to avoid wrongful termination lawsuits. The legal aspects of letting someone go can be very serious.

So let me start with a clear disclaimer. A video like this isn't enough. This will be a useful introduction, but before you consider letting someone go, you have to consult with professionals who know the laws and other employment guidelines that should be applied to the case you're considering. Typically, you'll start by seeing someone in HR or a legal professional. They can help you avoid costly mistakes. For example, in some states even if you follow the letter of the law, but you fire someone in a manner that's different than how's it's been done in the past, you can get in trouble.

That's why you want to seek expert advice. There are many employment laws that might be cited when someone wants to sue for wrongful termination. These include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the American with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Equal Pay Act, and many more. And in addition, there are many state laws to consider as well. Now many first time managers or small business owners sometimes think they don't have to worry about being sued because they work in a state that uses what's called employment at will.

This means an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason except an illegal reason without any legal liability. In turn, the employee is free to leave a job at any time for any reason again with no legal liability. That's the general presumption in most states, but it can be changed in an employment contract. And it's also true there are exceptions to this rule. For example, just because there's employment at will doesn't mean you can fire someone as retaliation for filing a claim, or asserting their legal rights.

Nor can you fire them for refusing to do something illegal, and you certainly can't discriminate. In fact, discrimination is 1 of the most common claims used in wrongful termination suits. Here the former employee and their lawyers use the federal anti-discrimination statutes which prohibit firing or refusing to hire a person based on race, religion, age, handicap status, or 1 of several other factors. Another very common type of lawsuit concerns exempt versus non-exempt status.

Earlier I mentioned the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. This law states that exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay. The exempt are typically salaried professionals; whereas, the non-exempt are hourly. So whether or not a particular job is legally classified as exempt versus non-exempt can save a company money or cost them a lot of money. The FLSA and every other major employment law has many important details probably more than any 1 manager can learn and remember, and based on what happens in the courts each year, they keep changing.

If you're among the minority of employers working with labor unions, you have yet another set of considerations set forth in a union contract. Here you'll face definitions about what constitutes a just cause for termination even if you're in an employment at will state. Wow! So what's the average manager supposed to do with all of this? First and foremost, know who your go-to person is at work for expert help with these matters.

Remember to always seek their counsel before making any significant employment-related decisions especially termination decisions. If your company offers training in this area, take it. If they don't and you're a manager, ask for funding so you can find the training externally. At a minimum, get on the internet where you'll find many free resources that will help you brush up on the basics about the major laws and the causes of most wrongful termination lawsuits.

And don't forget the most important piece of advice. Become an expert at properly documenting performance. Evidence of poor performance is the best defense when explaining a termination decision. You know most managers will never be named in a lawsuit, but the consequences of not being prepared can be quite large if it does happen. This video in this course can be a good place to start. Just remember that the best way to deal with wrongful termination lawsuits is to hire, train, and lead in such a way that they never happen in the first place.

There are currently no FAQs about Letting an Employee Go.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Letting an Employee Go.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.