Firing an employee can be an uncomfortable task for everyone in the situation. Working as a manager, I have experienced the difficulties and tension that goes into the decision of letting an employee go from an organization. However, there comes a point where an employee may have to be let go due to poor performance in the work place.
Each employee should have an employee file with annual reviews as well as a sheet for documenting any type of issue that does not following employee guidelines. If you are firing an employee because the work performance is poor or there has been too many disciplinary actions; document all the issues that pertain to the situation. Make certain the documentation has times, dates, and the reason for the action being taken. The documentation will help in making the final decision in letting the employee go. The documentation can also help out if there is any legal action taken by the employee as well as show the employee exactly why the dismissal is taking place.
Know the Law
Most states practice employee at will which means a company may terminate an employee at any time for no reason at all. However, a company cannot fire an employee based on age, race, gender, religion or disability. Also an employee cannot be fired due to military leave, family leave, medical leave, or to serve on a jury. Just remember to follow the laws your state to make certain that no legal action can be taking after the dismissal.
Do Not Get Emotional
Try to keep the meeting brief and to the point, do not let personal emotions get in the way. Try to practice what you plan on telling the employee prior to the meeting. If the employee becomes argumentative, avoid arguing back which can be difficult. Go over the documentation and simply state the reason for dismissal. Try to avoid confrontation but at the same time be civil. Shake hands with the employee as the person is getting ready to leave the office.
Firing an employee should be a private manner. The entire organization does not need to all the details of the dismissal. However, there should be a witness to the procedure. The witness can back up the story if there is any type of legal action or conflict down the road.
Good Employees, Lack of Work
If the reason for the employee dismissal is downsizing, feel free to offer a letter of recommendation. Use your own judgments in this type of situation; do not offer advice or a letter of recommendation if you do not feel comfortable in giving one for this particular employee.