How to Terminate an Employee
Despite the experience a manager may have, firing an employee is never an easy task. Nevertheless, terminating an employee is inevitable in workplaces. While the basis of firing an employee maybe justifiable, an organisation may land into legal problems for doing so. It is therefore important to set up a strategy for employee management, which should include the procedures for firing an employee. Below are steps to take to ensure you have a good termination process in place the next time you are firing an employee.
Have Your Facts Right
It is crucial to evaluate the situation leading to termination. Take time to evaluate and ascertain that the actions of the employee fall within the set restrictions of the policy. At the heat of the moment you may end up making an irrational decision, therefore do not make decisions when angry. Take time to analyse the situation while in the correct state of mind.
TIPS: The minute you start suspecting an employee of bad behaviour or performance below your expected standards, you should start documenting. If you haven’t done it for a given employee but feel it would be in the company’s best interest to get rid of this person, you must “reassemble” the story as precisely as you can (with dates, written proofs, witnesses, etc).
Policies: Progressive Discipline Policy.
Checklists: Progressive Discipline, When Should You Fire an Employee?
Worksheets: Termination of Employment, Progressive Discipline Documentation.
Correspondence: Notice to Employees of Unsatisfactory Behaviour, Record of Disciplinary Action and Prosed Changes, Reprimand, Warning Notice, Employee Correction Form.
It is important to have a firing protocol. Such protocol should include an updated employee handbook, accurate and clear job description, and clear employee contracts. With this kind of protocol, apply a progressive discipline policy. That is, give warnings to employees whenever they act against protocol, make sure to file all these in their files even for verbal warnings.
When you can describe your plan in that short of words or less, create a full pitch for it, with all the pertinent details from your business plan. Remember, you are asking people to either invest or donate money. Prove that you are worth the investment.
TIPS: 1) Documentation will help protect your organisation. Document every employee, this way the terminated employee might not feel like a victim of termination.
2) File disciplinary records for all employees. In cases of termination, review them and see what happened to employees found in similar situations.
Checklists: Pre-Layoff, Pre-Termination.
Correspondence: Final Warning Before Dismissal.
Plan before the termination meeting and rehearse for the meeting. Know when you will have the meeting, who will be at the meeting, when the meeting will be held, how long the meeting will be held, etc. Have all the documents you will need while at the meeting. Plan what happens to the employee after the meeting, will they leave immediately? Will they be escorted from the premises?
TIPS: Plan for every single detail of the meeting to avoid leaving the employee hanging. Go through the employees file and gather all facts pertaining to the situation to be well informed.
Correspondence: Notice of Termination (Work Rules Violation), Notice of Termination (False Employee Information), Notice of Termination (General), Notice of Lay-off, Termination Certification.
Just because you know them well does not mean they do not deserve the same respect, presentation, and information you would give someone you just met and are asking for money. Give them the full business plan and your complete pitch. Also, think of it as a safe practice zone before you present your pitch to a potential investor.
Agreements: Payment Guarantee, Payment Guarantee, Demand Note, Promissory Note, Debenture (Short Form), Financing Agreement (Short Form).
Ensure that a third party is available in the meeting who will serve as witness. Take control of the meeting and do not engage in a debate with the employee. Make the reasons for termination clear to the employee. Present all the relevant paperwork to the employee for him/her to sign. At this point you may give the final pay cheque or decide that it will be added on his/her last pay (say the date).
TIP: Deliver the news of termination within 5 minutes of beginning the meeting. Include the date of termination and reason in the letter of termination. Be prepared for the unexpected, for instance the employee might start to cry or become aggressive.
Correspondence: Employee Dismissal Letter, Employee Proprietary Rights Acknowledgement Upon Termination, Acknowledgement of Obligations.
Have a plan on how the employee will return any property under their care that belongs to the company. Disable the employee’s passwords, accounts, computers, and access to other company’s assets. You might consider seeing an attorney in case the employee has knowledge of a trade secret.
TIP: Give the employee enough time to collect their belongings whether supervised or unsupervised. Have security personnel close depending on how the employee may react, for instance the employee might get violent.
Follow the company rules and legislation to the letter to avoid any legal problems. Remember the employee has the option of presenting the termination document to a legal counsel for reviewing. Ensure a valid consideration for instance covenants or a form of severance pay supports the termination. Seek advice from a lawyer on the issue pertaining to reference requests to prevent potential lawsuits.
TIP: 1) Ensure that you deal with all claims for unemployment insurance benefits and other benefits as well. This will protect the company from additional problems. br>
2) You should be armed with documents to protect the organisation against charges of discrimination.
Resolutions: Board Resolution to Terminate an Employee.
Agreements: Severance Agreement, Separation and Release Agreement, Post-Employment Information Release.
While there may be rumours spreading, make an official announcement to the employees about the departure of the employees. Also inform members of the public, suppliers, and vendors so that they are aware that the employee can no longer transact on behalf of the company.
TIPS: Observe confidentiality and avoid disclosing the details pertaining to the termination. Avoid saying bad specific things about terminated employee, it’s better to stay vague and tell other employees that it was a necessary business decision.
Correspondence: Customer Letter for Departed Employee.
Depending on the situation of course, but if you manage to end the relationship in a professional and courteous manner – which is the goal – it’s a good practice to write a reference letter. That’s especially true when you are forced to lay off good people.
TIPS: 1) When giving references for terminated employees, it is acceptable to provide only the dates of hire and termination, position, and salary. You can limit it to just that, especially if you weren’t particularly pleased with the employee’s performance, behaviour, or personality.
2) You may have to find a way to decline a reference if asked, if so make sure you stay polite but explain your reasons why you can’t endorse a reference given the circumstances.
Policies: Post-Employment Reference Policy.
Checklists: A Tactful Way to Decline to Write a Letter of Recommendation.
Correspondence: Employee Reference Letters.
Forms: Exit Interview Form.
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