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Firing an Employee: Will it Turn Into a Scene?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Firing employees can be tricky. Anybody who has taken part in terminating employees knows that when emotions run high, sometimes lprofessionalism - and even logic - goes out the window.

We've all heard stories of how employees have reacted to getting fired. Some may get a little violent, belligerent, or downright emotional.

Generally, no employer takes pleasure in terminating an employee. But, sometimes it's simply necessary. Is there anything employers can do to avoid a scene?

Maybe not. No matter how gently you break the news, the employee's personality is likely what will dictate if they will cause a ruckus in the office.

What are some of the extreme examples? Some employees turn to crime. Black Dog Studios in Folsom, California fired an employee. In an act of vengeance, the terminated employee hired a hacker to delete the company's databases, reports CNN.

Other employees turn to violence. Toronto-based company Carick Home Improvements fired a carpenter who ended up trying to get into a fist fight with the firing foreman, CNN reports.

Fired employees may be in the wrong for reacting violently or turning to crime in response to being terminated. But, employers themselves should steer clear from violating laws and avoid firing employees for illegal reasons.

For example, employers cannot terminate an employee based on their race, gender, age, national origin, disability or religion. Employers also cannot terminate employees because they reported the company's illegal activities, or because they filed a harassment or discrimination claim. And, employers cannot terminate employees just because they took time off work for family leave as mandated by federal or state law.

So, be wary of the law when firing an employee. Terminating an employee is tough, but facing down a wrongful termination suit is tougher.

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