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was there a specific incident close in time to the discharge?
can the employer show that the employee violated a known policy or law?
are witnesses available?
does the employer have documentation to support its reasons for termination?
did the employee progress all the way through the disciplinary system?
was the employee confronted with the problem and given a chance to explain?
does the employee belong to a protected minority? (depending upon the state, the most common minority categories are race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin (including citizenship status), and disability; a few states include sexual orientation, veterans status, and others)
was the treatment given to the employee different from that given to non-minorities?
was the treatment given to the employee different from that given to other workers in general?
was the employee involved in a protected activity?
involvement in a claim over wages, workers' compensation, or discrimination?
jury or military duty?
voting? (For a listing of state laws regarding paid or unpaid time off for voting, see the NFIB Web site at http://www.nfib.com/tabid/56/Default.aspx?cmsid=31407&v=1.)
refusal to commit an illegal act?
inquiring about the legality of an instruction from the employer?
In the case of a simple layoff, is the company using neutral, business-related criteria, not related to any minority characteristics, to evaluate the affected department and select those who will be laid off?
Depending upon the answers to these questions, the employer may need to seek legal advice prior to taking any adverse job action against the affected employee.
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