Letting an employee go may be fraught with many
problems and correlating legalities. Even “at will” employees
who understand that they may lose their job at any time may have
legal recourse if your
reasons for firing an employee are invalid.
Therefore, it is well to review some of the reasons for firing an
employee. Some of these include:
*Misbehavior or rudeness toward clients or customers
*Drunkenness or substance abuse on-the-job
*Theft of company property
*Frequent and unexplained absences from work
*Entering false information on records
*Incompetence or failure to respond to training
*Fighting or other physical aggression
*Using company property for personal business
Document Your Reasons for Firing an Employee
In each these cases, the well-informed employer
will have clear documentation the employee understood company policy.
Also, the employer
should document evidence of misconduct and keep it on file with a
written summary of the termination. Even when firing an “at
will” employee, the manager must exercise care in wording the
reasons for the termination. For example, the employer should not
claim “downsizing” when he or she plans immediately to
hire another employee to perform the same job.
It is not enough merely to suspect that an employee has violated
a company policy. The employer should never fire an employee on a
whim or out of resentment. Management should remain calm and collected
during the entire process. The reasons for firing an employee may
be valid, but handling the situation badly can cancel this.
When there are economic reasons for firing an
employee, consider several factors. The main question an employer
will have is, “Which
employee should I terminate?” This can become a sticky situation
and there are many aspects to consider:
*Which employees have the greatest longevity of service?
*Which employee shows the greatest productivity?
*All things being equal, which employee would recover best?
*Is voluntary retirement a possibility?
*Which employee has the best attitude toward the business?
Reasons for firing an employee are as varied as their faces. Even
when the action becomes necessary through no fault of the employee,
both the decision making process and the act of firing are not pleasant
duties. It is, however, no time to let emotions get out of hand.
Our recommended guide for terminating an employee
employees is one of the least desirable aspects of being a small
business owner or Human Resources Manager. Nonetheless, it is a part
of your job if you hold either position. Therefore, you must understand
as much as possible when it comes to terminating employees to do
it sensitively while avoiding legal troubles.
For many people, even the thought of terminating
employees is undesirable. After all, once you have worked with
someone for a time, you get
to know him or her on a personal level. You may know that person’s
hardships and struggles, and you may know their family. Just thinking
of firing that person and placing an extra load on him or her can
be bothersome, even if you know the employee should be fired.
Besides the emotional stress of terminating employees, you must
be wary of lawsuits. In our current sue happy world, it only takes
one small mistake to find yourself going to court over a wrongful
termination hearing. Therefore, it is important to follow the proper
procedure when terminating employees.
Always Document When Terminating Employees
The first rule of thumb when terminating employees is to document.
As a rule, you cannot document enough. Before you reach the point
when termination is necessary, you must document all problems you
have had with the employee. Describe, in detail, all actions and
behaviors that lead to the employee's discipline. Every incident
should include the date it took place.
Following each incident, you must list out the
actions you took to reprimand the employee. Then, you must notify
the employee that
you have placed paperwork in his or her employee file and this person
must sign the paperwork to show that he or she has read it. If the
employee refuses to sign, document this fact as well and have another
supervisor sign that he or she witnessed the employee’s refusal.
Cover Yourself When Terminating Employees
When terminating employees, you must always take care
to cover these basics. Not only must you document the problems you
have had with
the employee, but you also must prove that you effectively communicated
your expectations to them. This means that you should also document
all training you have provided to the employee as well as all meetings
you have had with him or her.