How To Terminate An Employee The Right Way
Many businesses dread the day that they have to fire an employee. However, it has to be done sometimes. The process can be gut-wrenching, time-consuming, and even emotional. As a leader, you must know how to terminate someone without getting sued in the process. This helps avoid unnecessary stress over spending a fortune on legal fees and damages. In this article, you’re going to learn how to terminate an employee in the proper manner that compensates them fairly while keeping your reputation intact.
When Should You Fire Someone?
No employer in the right mind would want to fire an employee randomly. Unfortunately, there are times when you have to let go of someone to keep your company’s best interests. Some of the reasons why you’d want to terminate an employee include:
- Consistent poor performance. Employees who are not doing their job well are only wasting precious time and resources. However, it would be best if you looked into the reasons as to why it’s happening to determine whether company protocols are the ones at fault.
- Insubordination. If you give out directives and an employee refuses to follow them, you might have to consider termination. As the boss, it is your job that your decisions are observed and respected by the team.
- Violation of company policy. If someone consistently breaks the rules and regulations, don’t think twice about terminating as it weakens the trust of everyone in the workplace.
- Poor attitude/attitude problem. This usually happens when dealing with discontent employees or those that just don’t get along with others. Rather than sacrifice your entire team, it would make sense to terminate the root cause of the problem.
- Budget cuts. Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions like this. If there is a need to reduce headcount, you might have no other choice but to terminate employees that are not as critical for the company’s success.
How to Fire an Employee Without Getting Sued
Now that you know when to fire an employee, it’s time to go over how to do it the right way. Here are some steps you should take that mitigates the impact on the person without compromising your company’s future.
When firing someone, you should never act on a whim. Documentation should be your priority. Take time to write down your reasons. Next, give hints that you’re about to end the contract by sending the employee through a series of disciplinary actions related to the reason for the termination.
Prepare the Paperwork
Equipped with a plan, now’s the time to start filling out the paperwork. Draft a professional employment termination letter that clearly outlines the reason and have all of employee’s remaining benefits in order and that any other outstanding items are resolved.
Before you begin the termination process, it’s essential to communicate your expectations with the employee. Have a private talk. You want to make him understand that he’s not delivering the value he’s supposed to or that there’s something wrong with how he handles the work. It wouldn’t hurt to give him another chance, but if he doesn’t change his ways, you’ll be left with no choice.
Cooperate with the HR
If there’s one department that understands your employees better than you, it would be the HR. Their opinion matters a lot when it comes to terminations. Consult with them and make sure that they are aware of the situation before you act on your own accord. Once you and the HR have confirmed that there’s no changing the employee in question, you have no other choice but to terminate.
Keep it Short
Start by calling the employee to your office. It’s a good practice to have the HR sit outside while you talk. The meeting should last no more than 15 minutes. Don’t divert your intention with lengthy talks and empty promises. Tell your employee directly. Lines like ‘I’m sorry, but this is your last day here at work’ or ‘It saddens me to say that you’re fired.’ And that’s it. All you can do now is wait for the words to sink in.
Firing might be difficult for you, but it can be brutally traumatizing for the person who just got terminated. If the employee starts protesting, take out your paperwork and have the HR come inside. Explain the grounds for the termination carefully. Once everything is clear, offer to walk them to their desk. Be sure to provide references and offer to make introductions as well. It will make them feel better knowing they still have people who care about their situation even when the job ends. This way, they’re more likely to find another job quickly without being angry or resentful towards you and other employers around town. It also helps avoid business employment disputes and discrimination actions in the long run.
Clear Things Up with Your Team
No matter the reason, never bad mouth a previous employee in or out of work. However, your team will need some answers. While you shouldn’t provide the specifics of the termination (that is confidential), make sure to tell them your expectations to avoid such an event from occurring again. You can also have HR come to help explain things if it’s too difficult to do so on your own. And that’s it. You’re finally done with such a challenging process. Make sure to give yourself some break.