How to Fire an Employee – The Right Way

How to Fire an Employee – The Right Way

Many persons view termination of an employee as “no big deal,” however nothing can be further from the truth. Most managers are not all too happy about the aspect of firing an employee due to the ill side-effects such an action may cause. For example, firing an employee may result in a) The employee suing the company (if inappropriately handled); or b) Create discord amongst other employees. This in effect can have a significant effect on levels of production. However, not to despair, if your employee presents a company liability there is a way to fire him or her that will have no profound effect on the productivity within your business’s infrastructure.

The first consideration in appropriately terminating the services of an employee is to make use of your company’s probationary period for employees who are new to the organization. This will make things considerably easier on you as hiring/firing manager. The probationary period is useful in that it provides staff managers with the advantage of terminating an individual shortly after the individual is hired. This is particularly beneficial if it is found early on that the person does not have the skills to effectively carry out the duties entailed within the position. However, in order to use the probationary status effectively, you must offer up evidence that you attempted to train the person. This also means you needn’t waste your time conducting several sessions where you tried to rehab the person into the model employee. Proving the person cannot perform the job as instructed will suffice.

Another way to terminate a person is when he or she exhibits gross misconduct. This is a no-brainer because such behavior is grounds for immediate dismissal. Examples of gross misconduct include: a) A person demonstrating violence and harm to other individuals in the workplace; b) The employee is caught in the act of thievery while on the job; and c) The person makes a threat towards staff and co-workers that is viewed as a security issue. In each of the preceding scenarios, you as hiring/firing manger have a clear reason why the employee must be terminated. You may state you have an obligation in terminating the individual since he or she presents a threat to the safety of his or her co-workers as well as the security of the organization. However, in order to fire the person immediately, make doubly certain you have good solid factual paperwork with respect to your reason(s) for the termination.

Firing a person for any other reason will require that you administer disciplinary action in a progressive manner. This matter of termination will require you meet several times with the employee. You are required to address the issue and explain fully how you wish the employee to correct it. Warnings are inclusive of verbal warnings, and a warning issued in writing. Lastly, if no improvement has been noted with respect to the employee’s behavior a letter of termination and termination meeting is in order.

If your company has a separate department relative to employee issues, you will want to make sure they are well within the loop prior to any meeting of termination. Have an HR rep look over the letter of termination in order to assure you are following standard procedure.

During the termination meeting, have the HR rep who reviewed your letter also be in attendance. The human resource representative’s role is to witness the firing. Be upfront with the employee as to the reason for the meeting. At this juncture it is not at all wise to side-talk around the issue at hand.

Use the termination letter as a tool in order to allow you to properly conduct the firing. Inform the employee what he or she may anticipate as a result of the termination and how to go about attaining their severance pay. When conducting the meeting assure the entire procedure is performed as professionally as possible.

When terminating an employee, first establish the type of termination. The above scenarios may be useful to you in this regard. Next follow your company’s guidelines to the letter and keep any emotionalism you may be experiencing out of the event. Following these standard principles will allow you to perform the termination procedure without incident and overall productivity or company profits will not suffer as a result of it.

Recommendation for Employee Scheduling Software

The author James F. is the founder of Fendza online employee scheduling software, and shamelessly plugs his personal recommendation to try out Fendza.

Fendza automatically creates perfect work schedules (with no time conflicts) by taking all those employee requests, their hours of availability, business needs, locations, etc. and doing all the plugging calculations for you; saving you hours of work and headaches. It even lets your employees login online and check their work schedules, submit employee requests, set their hours of availability, and much more.

For more information about Fendza, check out their website at:

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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