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Q&A: How to Fire a Super

Q. I live in a condo in Westchester. We have a super who has been here for 20 years and he doesn’t do a thing except empty garbage and maybe vacuum the hallway. When the board members ask him to do something, he frequently refuses—yet he tells the unit owners to send emails to our management company telling them how good he is. He is very selective with which owners he helps in the building. How can we fire him? 

                        —Tired of This Nonsense

A. “Initially, we need to know if the super’s employment is governed by an employment agreement or union contract,” says Andrew Wagner, shareholder attorney with the New York law office of Anderson Kill. “If so, the manner in which he can be disciplined or terminated would be governed by those agreements. 

“Assuming neither of the above scenarios applies, then the super is an employee-at-will, and may be fired for any reason or no reason, at any time, provided that the termination is not for a discriminatory reason, or retaliatory in nature. 

“Generally speaking, condominium boards are afforded protection by the Business Judgment Rule, which insulates boards from liability for decisions made in good faith. Given that there appear to be legitimate reasons for terminating the superintendent’s employment, the board can issue a termination letter and request that he turn over all keys and condominium property (i.e., tools, cell phone, etc.) to the management company. Additionally, if he resides in the building, he should be directed to move out of the unit by a specified date.

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