Keep Pink Slips From Turning Into Red Ink

FIRING SOMEONE CAN BE A tricky business. Inconsistent or poorly justified personnel decisions can trigger lawsuits from the employee or government agencies. To help you get rid of poor performers without running into legal trouble, a new company called Decisis in San Mateo, Calif., has come out with InCompliance. This software package helps guide personnel departments through the complex and ever-changing maze of employment laws.

The program, which is designed to run on networks of IBM-compatible PCs, first solicits a range of data about each proposed termination. It then analyzes the information and makes recommendations based on a collection of logic rules that have been programmed into the computer--a so-called knowledge base. The rules include those that Decisis has extracted from various statutes, such as the Equal Pay Act and Occupational Safety & Health Act, and some rules that reflect the "best practices" of legal and personnel specialists. At $30,000, the price may seem steep for a PC package, but it costs far less than a lawsuit.

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