Firing someone is never easy, but sometimes it must be done. In the previous post I outlined the 3 legitimate reasons why you may have to take such action.
Managers and supervisors should always seek expert advice before taking such action. When you ultimately have to do it, here are 7 practical suggestions to follow:
- Never fire employees on the spot: firing someone can be emotional; it is better to suspend, pending investigation, allowing cooler minds to prevail.
- Limit firing to a few key managers: this is a serious matter. Leave it to key managers, but allow supervisors the authority to suspend.
- Use a progressive discipline system: have a defensible, fair process; it protects the employee, the manager and the company.
- Have a witness present when firing: having another manager present ensures that it is done properly and minimizes misunderstandings and false accusations.
- Never be abusive or outrageous: being abusive and outrageous is a ticket to a lawsuit. Be professional and civil, minimizing a violent reaction and protecting the dignity of the employee.
- Never give a false reason when firing: be honest. Giving a false reason could result in a lawsuit.
- Have documentation supporting the reason for termination: your case for termination should be solid and must be consistent with your policies. If it is not, you shouldn’t do it.
Follow these suggestions and minimize making a difficult situation worse.
For assistance, call my HR HelpLine.