Employee terminations have an impact on everyone within the organization
The key to a “successful termination” begins with hiring and continues throughout the employer/employee relationship. Performance reviews also play a critical role in a “successful termination”, but the actual process of termination is what stays on everyone’s mind the longest time.
Here is a checklist to follow when firing an employee:
- Decide exactly, and succinctly, why you want to fire the employee.
- Compare your reasons for wanting to fire the employee with the job descriptions for that employee’s position. Does at least one of your reasons include that the employee is actually not doing the job properly?
- If the employee is working pursuant to a contract, you must comply with the terms of the contract having to do with termination; otherwise you may be in breach of contract.
- Inform the employee as to the reason behind their termination. This should be presented to them in writing (termination letter) at the time the firing occurs. The termination should occur in a private area. Be sure to have a witness with you during this time, but the witness should not be a co-worker or manager of the employee being fired.
- After you tell the employee why they are being fired, allow them to tell you any defenses or other responses they have to your reasons for termination. It just may be that you are making a mistake or the employee may confirm your decision to fire them.
- Make sure the employees’ files include a copy of the termination letter. In addition, add an additional note outlining what the employee said in their defense.
- Be sure all wages, benefits, property, or other items belonging to the employee or to which the employee is entitled are given to the employee when they are notified of their firing.
- At all stages of the termination process, treat the employee with common respect and courtesy.
- Never do anything to humiliate the employee. Simply being fired is humiliation enough for an employee.
- In general, the less said to co-workers and other employees the better. It is important to notify them of the firing, but you do not want to infringe on the terminated employee’s privacy.
Firing an employee is not a pleasant thing. However, being confident in your decision, following proper procedures, and keeping objective records of the decision and the event can put you in the best position possible in case the employee later makes accusations against you, or if they decide to pursue legal action.
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