9 Steps to Handling Employee Terminations the Right Way

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ID-10081217There comes a time in every employer’s experience when the decision to terminate an employee is the best one. While this is never an easy decision to make, it’s out of business necessity to do so in the right manner. Not terminating an employee following human resource best practices can result in wrongful termination or discrimination lawsuits, or worse yet, an incident of workplace violence.

To terminate an employee the right way, here are some guidelines to follow.

  1. Document the employee’s performance for at least 30 days prior to the termination.  If an employee has been part of a discipline process, you will want to make sure that any progress of lack thereof has been carefully documented.
  2. Try to work through any issues with the employee and management team first.  Depending on the severity of the issues with the employee, find out if there is anything that can be done to salvage the employee’s status at this point. In some instances, it’s better to retain an employee than fire him.
  3. Select the best termination date for your company based on production and projects. Unless a company policy has been violated, you will want to avoid terminations during peak production cycles or during time sensitive projects. Get past this and then terminate.
  4. Schedule an in-person termination meeting for 15-minutes before or after the employee’s shift.  Never do an employee term by phone or email. Instead, invite the employee into the office and discuss this in person.
  5. Have the immediate supervisor and an HR representative present during the termination.  You’ll want to have both the employee’s manager and a member of the human resource team present to handle any questions that the employee may have.
  6. Provide a written termination form that clearly explains the reason for termination and get it signed by the employee. Any termination must be for a valid, unbiased reason. Be prepared to provide this information and have the employee sign off.
  7. Retrieve any company property, security badges and ask for uniforms to be turned in.  Company theft is a serious issue with terminated employees. Get any company property and security access, including computer passwords, before you let the employee out of your sight.
  8. Respectfully escort the employee off the property, out of sight of other employees.  This is not a time to make a scene. Consider how the employee feels and be kind enough to personally walk him or her out of your workplace and to their vehicle. Alert security that you have terminated them.
  9. Ensure that any follow up tasks take place immediately, such as COBRA notice and unemployment claims.  Your duty as an employer doesn’t end at termination. You must process the termed employees benefit paperwork and respond promptly to any unemployment claim information.

Have an upcoming termination to deal with? Call Pat at ShiftHR for support and guidance, and avoid a costly lawsuit!

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