Anyone who plans to run any type of business with a number of employees will eventually come face to face with one of the most unpleasant responsibilities of management: terminating an employee from their position. However, this situation will always arise as people have different personalities, temperaments, and personal issues that may affect an employee’s job performance. Yet, if the termination is not handled correctly, there could be a lawsuit against the business by the terminated employee, governmental Labor or Equal Opportunity agencies could become involved, or even the morale of the remaining employees could be negatively affected. Thus, this article presents some suggestions as to how to handle employee termination.
Decide if Termination is the very Best Option
At best, termination causes a disruption to a business. Therefore, an employer should consider all available alternative options before termination. The business would still need to operate with one less person’s contribution, causing a possible burden on others. So termination should be thought thoroughly and properly planned like any business decision. Larger companies might have meditation or arbitration policies.
Document the Employee’s Job performance.
Termination should come as no surprise to an employee. This is because termination should be at the final stage of company discipline. The business should have disciplinary policy and the employee should fully aware of any unsatisfactory job performance issues. Be aware of any unlawful reasons of termination such as disabilities, pregnancy, or discrimination.
The Termination Meeting
The meeting to terminate an employee should be handled as professionally as possible. The employee should be calmly and succinctly told that, after careful consideration, is no longer in the best interest of the company to continue his or her employment with the company. It is important for the employee to preserve their dignity through the process. It is generally good practice that the employee’s direct supervisor should be the one to inform the employee. If it is a large company, a member of the management team or human resources could accompany to notify the employee of any benefits upon termination.
When to Terminate
There are several schools of thought as to when a termination should take place. However, it really depends on the circumstances of the termination, nature of the position, and post severance legal issues. Some feel that Friday is best because it is the end of the workweek and the business can start anew on Monday. Others feel that Friday termination allow for ill will to generate. The circumstances really depend on many factors. Consult with an HR consultant or employment attorney if any potential problems are anticipated. Also, decide early if the situation warrants for all employee’s belongs to be gathered together and given to the him/her at the termination meeting or if he or she should be afforded a scheduled time to come back to permanently collect their things. However, after the termination meeting, the employee should not be allowed to return to the office, any of the business area, or even speak to other employees. They should be asked to leave immediately.
For employers, there is a great deal of information about termination on the U.S. Department of Labor website.
Likewise, there is also much that an employee can learn about his/her rights on the Labor Department’s website as well.