every employer ought to know ... about how to terminate an employee.
Why is it the worst employees, the ones that you simply must fire,
are always the ones most likely to sue you? Many small business owners
and Human Resources Managers find themselves asking this question.
They must know how to terminate an employee while limiting their
liability if the case goes to court. With the sue-happy nation we
live in, it is easy for a terminated employee to bring a case against
you and claim that you had no real ground for termination. In fact,
the employee may claim that you discriminated against him or her.
This can get you in both financial and legal troubles. Therefore,
you must know how to terminate an employee properly to keep yourself
out of hot water.
How to Terminate an Employee Step 1: Document
The first step you need to take when terminating an employee is
to document everything. You may think that writing down every little
detail is time-consuming and tedious – and it is. Nonetheless,
it is necessary. Pay attention to details when documenting problems.
This can be a life saver if legal troubles follow the termination.
Make sure you write down everything that took place, including the
situation, the time it took place, and the actions you took to correct
How to Terminate an Employee Step 2: Discuss it with the Employee
In step two, you must discuss the issue with the employee. During
your discussion, you must tell the employee what he or she did wrong,
tell him or her the actions you will take, and warn him or her of
the consequences if the action reoccurs. Document this discussion
and have the employee sign paperwork proving you addressed the matter
and that he or she is aware of the outcomes.
Sometimes, an employee will refuse to sign this documentation. If
this is the case, have another supervisor sign as a witness to your
discussion. If there are no other supervisors, document the date
and time and note the employee refused to sign.
How to Terminate an Employee Step 3: The Exit Interview
If you have completed the first two steps in the termination process
and the employee still is not working up to your expectations, it
is time to begin termination proceedings. To do this, you will need
to coin an employee termination letter that details the reason for
dismissal and the effective date of termination. It should also include
whether the employee is eligible for rehire and any benefits that
he or she may or may not still receive after termination. Finally,
sit down with the employee and discuss the termination letter. Keep
the exit interview brief and avoid saying too much, as anything you
say can be used against you later if the employee decides to file
a few days (or sooner) you can be rid of your problem employee.