Letting Go: How to Handle the Process of Firing an Employee


No matter how promising an employee may be during the hiring process, sometimes it just doesn't work out in the end. Whether it's a personality conflict that can't be resolved, change in attitude or an inability to keep up with the requirements of the job, firing an employee is never a pleasant task. Here are some tips to help you handle the process gracefully and with as little risk as possible.

  • The termination process isn't usually an immediate thing - you should provide warning unless there's a very serious, egregious breach in behavior or actions that endangers your business. Give the employee a chance to turn themselves around and keep a record of disciplinary actions. This helps you avoid issues with wrongful termination lawsuits.

  • Have a face-to-face meeting for the process. Your other employees will remember that you gave a bad employee that courtesy and will trust you to look after their interests in the future.

  • Know your rights and the employee's rights. You will have some things that you can fire an employee for and other which you cannot. Generally speaking, you cannot fire for discrimination, because the employee was a whistleblower or if you promised to only let them go for cause and you have none.

  • Have an HR rep on hand and choose your words carefully. The HR rep will answer any questions and help keep things on track while providing your business with a witness on their side of the process. Deliver the news, provide documentation, stay calm and avoid using harsh language that may inflame the situation.

  • Cut off access just before or during the meeting. This includes retrieving cell phones, laptops, tablets, computer access, security access and similar aspects that can cause serious issues for your company if your employee is disgruntled over being fired and wants to take it out on your business after the fact.

By understanding your rights and your employee's rights during the termination of employment process, you can protect your business' interests. But what if you're not sure exactly what is usual in this process? The experienced business professionals at AccountRely can help. Please feel free to reach out today to get connected to a professional with experience in your industry.

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