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Keller & Heckman: Wrongful Termination: Mixed Motives and Damages in California (Harris v. City of Santa Monica)

I. THERE ARE MOTIVATIONS AND THEN THERE ARE MOTIVATIONS The Supreme Court of California recently addressed a challenging issue associated with employee wrongful termination actions. The Supreme Court considered the situation where an employee establishes a discriminatory motivation and the employer...

Good News/Bad News for Wrongful Termination - COTW # 135

Another day, another court decision striking down an employee's attempt to bring a "wrongful termination" claim. The Pennsylvania Superior Court case is Mikhail v. Penn. Org. for Women in Early Recovery , 2013 Pa. Super. LEXIS 82 (slated for publication in A.3d) [ an enhanced version...

Termination Rutgers Style

Rutgers President Barchi was quite adamant that Mike Rice, the men's basketball coach, was not fired for cause. He stated, "The outside counsel says that could not be done...I fired him. Not for cause. I just fired him." Not terminating the coach for cause cost the university a little...

Fired for Suing an Ex-Employer? Court Rejects Public Policy Claim

Carcorp hired Barry Elam to work in its finance department. A few months into his employment with Carcorp, Elam sued his prior employer, Bob McDorman Chevrolet, claiming that it had wrongfully fired him in retaliation for his cooperating with an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General into fraudulent...

Four Reasons Your Employment Lawyer Thinks Firing Should Be a Last Resort

Last week's post about whether certain employees in the news deserved to be fired , in addition to generating some great comments from readers, got me thinking about firings in general. I don't like to fire people. And I know what you're thinking -- then why in the world is she...

Is Your Reason for Termination Honest, Logical, and Complete? If Not, You May Get a Scary Result in Your Discrimination Case

Is Your Reason for Termination Honest, Logical, and Complete? If Not, You May Get a Scary Result in Your Discrimination Case If you fire an employee for an indefensible reason, chances are you will get a charge or a lawsuit out of it, even if the indefensible reason was legal. That's HR/Legal...

Tips for Handling an Employment Separation

by Faith Alejandro Employment separations are never easy or pleasant, but at times, you may find it necessary and in the best interest of your business. Whether you need to lay off an employee because of the economy or fire someone for cause, the termination process can be challenging. But there are...

The Proper Way to Say Goodbye to Departing Employees

by Mario R. Bordogna At some point, most employers must face the prospect of sitting down with an employee to advise him or her that it’s time for the employment relationship to end. This is frequently a dreaded scenario for employers, and understandably so. Emotions usually run high and legal...

Will The Reason For My Termination Turn Up In A Background Check?

A reader left this question in the comments to my post Loss Prevention is Lying to You . Hey Donna, would you know if for example LP fired a person from a company, would other companies that person applies for be able to see everything that happened between him and the company he got fired from? ...

Calling Your Students "Hoes" Can (and Should) Get You Fired

During the 2007-2008 school year, Ms. Kimble was employed as a cook and cheerleading coach at a high school. In December 2007, she took the cheerleaders on an overnight Christmas party held in a cabin located outside the county. The trip was not approved as was required by district policy. When administration...

Employers, Don’t Commit These 5 Firing Faux Pas!

Do you think you have that employee termination all buttoned up, and no one will be able to challenge you? Defending that EEOC charge will be a slam dunk? No plaintiff’s lawyer in his right mind would represent your soon-to-be-ex employee? Are you sure about that? Can we talk? Don’t...

How to Fire an Employee

Yes, this is a crummy subject, for both sides of the issue. I have yet to meet an employer or HR person who looks forward to that awkward meeting, where they need to pull the plug. Even amicable separations are full of potential anxiety about how to treat each other fairly, while advocating for oneself...

For Want of a Well-Placed Pickle: Will Your Termination Pass the Red-Face Test?

Have you ever refused to eat at fast food sandwich because the pickles were off? Not “off” as in omitted, or “off” as in taste, but “off” as in alignment, or, these pickles are arranged in a triangle and not in a square on my patty? If you answered “yes”...

When Can an Employer Give Working Notice?

In the wake of Target closing its Canadian doors this month, we have had some of our employer clients asking about the pros and cons of working notice. The 17,600 employees of Target have received at least 16 weeks of notice each, but many will be expected to work all or part of those 16 weeks rather...

What Does a Snowblower Have to Do With Your Next Employee Termination?

We’ve had a robust February of snow in Northeast Ohio, which provided the first excuse of the season to pull my snowblower out of the garage. Since we moved into our house a decade ago, there was not a snow storm that it couldn’t handle. The Sunday newspaper, however, is another story. ...

Did He Quit, or Was He Fired? Constructive Discharge Quiz!

Some employers really, really hate to fire employees. That doesn’t mean they won’t do it – but they’ll do just about anything to avoid calling it what it is. A few months ago, I wrote about “bogus RIFs” – when an employer tries to avoid “firing”...

Did the Sixth Circuit Just Gut the Honest-Belief Rule?

The only fight I’ve even been in was in 4th grade. For reasons that I can’t remember, Yale Weinstein and I squared off in the schoolyard of Loesche Elementary School. There were no winners, only losers, and the only thing that saved both of us from suspension that day was the fact that the...

Regardless of State Laws, the Use of Marijuana Remains Unlawful Under Federal Law

by Kyle Abraham On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Coats v. Dish Network, LLC [an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers] . This case is an important reminder that the use of marijuana remains unlawful under federal...

Legal Marijuana Remains Off-Limits in the Workplace

It is likely that when Ohioans go the polls this November, we will have the opportunity to vote on whether to amend our state constitution to permit for the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana . Meanwhile, Cleveland.com reports that business groups are concerned over certain language in the proposed...

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Termination for Medical Marijuana Use

Colorado has a quirky little statute that makes it unlawful for employers to terminate employees for "lawful" outside-of-work activities. As you may know, Colorado also has some pretty marijuana-friendly laws on the books. Enter Brandon Coats. Brandon has a state license that allows him to...

When The Force Isn’t With You: Tips for Handling Reductions in Force

by Daniel D. Fassio Reductions in force are difficult for both employers and employees. Generally, employers only undertake such a drastic step due to decreased demand for products or services, or other economic difficulties. When those circumstances occur, management must evaluate the needs of the...

How Discipline and Discharge of Public Sector Employees Differs From That of Private Sector Employees

by Allison B. Williams HR professionals and lawyers in West Virginia know that our State is an at-will employment state, meaning you can discharge an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, or any reason at all, as long as it is not done for an illegal purpose ( e.g. , discrimination, retaliation...

When Terminating an Employee, Is a Clean Break Better Than a Long Limbo?

If you have a poor performer, is it better to make a clean break and fire him, or is it better to prolong his (and your) agony? That is obviously a biased question, but some employers will do almost anything to avoid firing an employee, including the following: • Nothing • Issue...

"At Will" Employment vs. Right to Self-Defense

Today, in my employment law class, we cover the case of Weaver v. Harpster . The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that a woman could not sue her employer for sex discrimination/harassment [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. That probably comes as...

Are No Re-Hire and No Re-Apply Clauses Unlawful?

I attended the ABA Labor and Employment Law Conference this past weekend. It was my first time, but it will not be my last. It was a great conference! I learned a lot, but one particular issue stuck out for me: Are "no re-hire" and "no re-apply" clauses unlawful? When employers and...