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Every Manager's Legal Guide to Firing.

Every Manager's Legal Guide to Firing. By August Bequai; published by Business One Irwin, 80016343966 or 3121798-6000; 210 pages; $39.95.

Losing a termination case can adversely affect an employer's pocketbook-the average jury verdict in wrongful termination cases is $250,000, and $450,000 awards to former employees are not uncommon. Some experts predict that by the end of the 20th century the average judgment could exceed $1 million.

A century ago, employees had limited workplace rights. Today, one of the most rapidly evolving areas of law involves individual employee rights. Employees now have better job security through statutory protections and the judicial erosion of the at-will employment relationship.

To deal with the expansion of employee rights, reference sources are needed to assist employers in recruiting, selecting, and terminating employees without encountering legal problems. Every Manager's Legal Guide to Firing assists the reader in understanding the termination process for managers.

The book is primarily directed toward the human resource professional and others who deal with personnel matters. A secondary audience is employment law attorneys for whom the book can serve as a reference tool in advising clients.

The book encourages those who deal with employment terminations to view them as the basis for potential litigation and to act or react in the best possible defensive manner to minimize or avoid risks.

The book's guiding principle is practicality. The author provides advice and suggestions, including lists of "do's" and "don'ts," checklists, and sample language for contract clauses, handbook provisions, waivers, disclaimers, and consents.

Every Manager's Legal Guide to Firing presents ideas, programs, and procedures to help managers * evaluate their current termination policies; * assess the effectiveness of their personnel policies and procedures in avoiding discrimination charges; * act to reduce the possibility of being investigated by a government agency; * identify and discipline problem employees; * deal with layoffs, plant closings, mergers, and acquisitions in a way that complies with the law; and * ensure that record-keeping procedures conform with federal, state, and local regulations.

The first chapter, "The Firing Line," covers the at-will doctrine. Chapter two moves from the theory to the day-to-day realities of personnel law and explains how those realities affect managers when they set out to discipline or terminate employees.

The good and bad reasons to terminate an employee are explained in the chapter titled "The Right Way to Fire." The next chapter examines on-the-job drug and alcohol abuse.

Employers have lost termination cases because they did not have a standard procedure for determining who should be terminated for what and how terminations should be handled. Chapter five sets forth how to develop Policies That Do the Job."

Chapter six, "Lawyers, Employees, and Money," explains what to expect from litigious employees. Chapter seven offers defenses against employee lawsuits.

Chapter eight describes how to avoid "The Pink Slip Blues"-lawsuits that follow from mass layoffs or facility closings. It also warns managers about using layoffs to eliminate employees who cannot be terminated from their jobs in other ways.

The next chapter covers employment agreements and is followed by a chapter emphasizing the importance of keeping clear and accurate records of every termination. The final chapter discusses termination law in the next century.

The book is well written and has much up-to-date information for those confronted with the daily problems of dealing with individual employee rights, and it also provides practical insights for managers into successfully limiting employer liability in terminations.

Reviewer: Kurt Decker, attorney with the Reading, PA, firm of Stevens & Lee, and member of the ASIS Standing Committee on Privacy and Personnel Information Management.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Decker, Kurt
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:When your boss is a crook.
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