Streetwise Advice: 7 Tips for Firing an Employee

Don’t Take Firing Lightly

Usually, even a very weak job performance can be brought up to a satisfactory level. Firing, on the other hand, involves a significant legal risk. It also has a traumatic impact on other members of your staff, even if they understand and appreciate the reasons for the termination.

Don’t Hesitate to Consult with Counsel

If you have any questions regarding a firing, consult with an expert employment attorney prior to the termination. You may save yourself the legal fees of a post-firing lawsuit.

Plan What You Are Going to Say

If you don’t carefully plan out what you are going to say during a firing, and stick to it, chances are you will offer kind words regarding their work performance. This can lead to legal action. During a firing, you don’t want to even hint at anything positive in the person’s job performance.

Be Calm

Even if the employee you are firing irritates you, don’t let on. If he or she lashes out verbally, don’t get excited. Soon this person will be gone and will no longer be your problem.

Be Humane

Treat employees you are firing as kindly as possible during the termination process. This can be a very traumatic experience for them. Being kind, without conveying anything positive about their job performance, can assuage this trauma. It can also decrease the odds that someone will bring a wrongful firing suit against your company or place negative phone calls to your remaining staff.

Avoid Surprises

Give weak employees every opportunity to improve their work performance or attitude before opting to let them go. If you can prove that you have given them every possible chance, there will be fewer grounds for a lawsuit. Plus, other employees will feel less threatened by the implications of the firing.

Additionally, employees who have been aware for some time that their continued employment is on the line will find the actual firing less traumatic. It may well be that they will feel “clued,” and will seek and find employment elsewhere before you can fire them. You want to avoid firing someone who has no idea that his or her job is in jeopardy.

Keep Good Records

Good documentation of poor work performance or attitude is essential in defending against a wrongful firing suit. Make a record of any verbal warnings you have given to the employee and, if possible, issue written warnings to him or her well before the firing. Negative performance reviews are important.

About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.