Classic Mistakes When Terminating Employees
When terminating employees it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you have to be careful. Especially these days. Don’t get caught up into the whirlwind of emotions that may be exhibited by the outgoing employee. They may cry, become defensive, turn violent, or want a second chance. Always have your paperwork prepared (including final checks) before you enter into that final meeting and have a witness with you.
In addition, may sure you do not lose you cool under fire. Many of you have heard me talk about this during seminars. Terminations can be stressful. Don’t aggravate the outgoing employee by berating them in any way. Be diplomatic even though you are glad they are leaving. Their last impression of their leaving may determine whether or not they may sue. Don’t make that decision easy for them so watch what you say. Keep the discussion short. Let them know that you have thought about it and that your decision is final. Don’t let them get you into a detailed discussion about why they are being terminated and not some other employee.
Next, an employee should never be shocked that they are being let go. Please follow progressive discipline guidelines to insure they are on notice that they are engaging in a behavior that ultimately may cause their departure from the company. Document, document, document! Sound familiar.
Finally, do not discuss the reasons for termination with any other employee after the terminated employee has left. Sound simple? You would be surprised. A former employee can sue you based upon your discussing his/her termination with others. If you are asked why a particular employee is no longer working you simply have to state that they have moved on and will not be working there anymore. Keep it simple.
As always, if you are not sure about terminating an employee please contact us and let’s discuss it. Ultimately, it will be your decision but we can help to make sure that you have crossed your “T’s” and dotted your “I’s.”