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Fire Proof

A thorough investigation is the only way to build a case against problem employees.

This story appears in the July 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Rumors are flying. Everyone in the office is talking about a fellow employee stealing supplies, taking drugs or using office computers to run a porn Web site. Time to check it out and take action.

But not too fast. "Before disciplining anyone for misconduct, conduct a full and fair investigation," says Jeff Pasek, an attorney specializing in employment law with Cozen O'Connor in Philadelphia. That way, you'll have an excellent defense if you end up in court. The opposite is also true: A jury hearing that you fired someone after false accusations and a slapdash investigation may be more sympathetic to the ex-employee.

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