How to Fire Staff
Firing someone can be a very stressful and emotional process, knowing that letting an employee go will affect their livelihood can commonly let anxiety influence managers during the termination process, often making the situation much worse.
It’s wise to remember that firing an employee will affect everyone else on your team and can have a demoralising effect on them if the firing process appears unfair.
If you follow an ethical and legal process of termination, outlined here, you are not only minimizing the risk of being sued for wrongful termination, you stand a good chance of retaining the respect of your remaining employees.
Check Your Records
If this employee has been causing problems within your business for a while there should be records from this employee’s performance reviews. If in checking these reviews it appears that the feedback you have given them has been largely positive, don’t fire them until you have given them some signals that you are not pleased with their performance.
One signal that you can give them is a verbal or formal warning. Bring the employee into your office and let them know what you are unhappy with, give them a finite period of time to turn the situation around, usually 30 days is a good period.
At the end of this meeting, let them know that a lack of improvement in this area will result in their immediate termination and make a record of this discussion.
Give the employee a dispassionate list of behaviours that are causing you issues and let them know how they can solve these issues. During this discussion, try to stay very focused on this topic and don’t let the employee lead the conversation into other areas.
The Difficult Discussion
Always have a witness present and a box of tissues prepared for the discussion when you fire someone, then carry out the following steps:
- Let they employee know that they are being fired and when they need to leave the premises.
- You should carefully avoid going into detail about the reasons for firing. In a calm way just explain to the employee that they did not meet the goals that you previously explained their job was dependant on.
- Do not get into an argument with the employee, if they object, just let them know that you have already made your decision.
- Outline the amount of severance pay or benefits that the employee is entitled to after they leave your employment.
- Let them know what you will provide for them as a reference, should anyone call. It is particularly important that you consult and employment law professional for this in order to get the wording correct.
Never let the employee stay in the work environment for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Let them know that you would like them to leave immediately and escort them from the premises. However harsh this may sound it stops disgruntled employees stealing company files, changing passwords or anything else nasty like destroying company property or abusing company social media accounts.
Reassign the employee’s job responsibilities as soon as possible after termination. Once the employee has left, call the rest of your team together and make them aware that their colleague has been let go without giving too many details. Then reassign responsibilities throughout the team.
Ask the employee to sign a liability release and give them an incentive to sign. You should never draft this yourself as the wording has to be very specific to hold up in court. The incentive can be something like giving more severance pay, this will usually be worthwhile as getting the employee to sign an appropriate liability release will protect your business against being sued for unfair dismissal or discrimination.
Collect all necessary keys and other company assets from the employee.
Consult a Legal Professional Before You Take Action
It’s never easy to fire an employee, but the cost to your business that a bad employee can cause is extensive, so face the problem head on and make the decisions that you need to. Consult an employment law professional to protect your business against disgruntled ex-employees and contact us today on 0161 115 6164.