Terminating an employee is never easy. However, sometimes it has to be done.
It is important though, that employers consider their decision carefully and always follow the law when firing a worker. Otherwise, that worker may be able to come back at the company with a costly discrimination or wrongful termination lawsuit.
This may be true even if the employee has only worked at the company for a few days.
In a recent case, a woman recovered $120,000 from her employer after she filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She alleged that she had been fired as a result of disability and age discrimination.
According to the lawsuit, the woman was hired, and then fired just a few days later, after her employer learned she suffered from a back injury. After reviewing the facts of the case, the EEOC alleged the woman was wrongfully terminated either because of her disability or because of a combination of her disability and her age.
In addition to the monetary relief, the company will be required to institute new policies and procedures designed to prevent disability and age discrimination. It will also be required to implement new training for employers, managers and human resource workers, inform employees of their rights under federal non-discrimination laws and provide a letter of reference for the terminated employee.
Ultimately, terminating this employee has proven to be a very expensive and laborious process.
It is important for employers to fully train their human resources staff regarding the appropriate and legal reasons for terminating an employee. If there is any question about whether it is appropriate to end a worker's employment, the safest option is always to talk with an employment law attorney before making a final determination.
Source: Job Mouse, "DXP Enterprises Pays $120,000 to Woman Fired Because of Prior Back Injury and Age," Anneline Waldman, Feb. 7, 2012.