Whitepapers: The Termination Process – 10 Tips for Employers
In business, terminations are likely to happen. As an employer, you should establish a workplace policy with regards to termination meetings so that they are handled effectively and are productive both for you, as the employer, and the person who is being dismissed.
- Retain All Employment Documents
Keep proper documents about all of your dealings with the employee as they may benefit you in the event of a lawsuit. These documents will include notes about the employee’s performance and any disciplinary problems. Make sure that you keep hard copies as well as electronic versions of the documents, if they are available.
- Practice Your Delivery
Prior to the meeting, determine what you will say, how you will say it, and in what order. Try to anticipate a variety of reactions and determine how to deal with each of them.
- Consult a Lawyer
A termination package must be planned and prepared in advance. An employment lawyer will inform you of your legal obligations owed to the employee, including things such as termination pay, severance pay, and company benefits. Legal counsel will provide you with the best course of action to take to avoid a lawsuit.
- Bring in Human Resources (“HR”)
Contact Human Resources about the termination decision and allow an HR representative to be present during the termination meeting. He/she can ensure that you follow proper protocol.
- Select a Date/Time for the Meeting
Select a day and time to conduct the termination meeting, taking into account the nature of your work environment and the possible reactions which you might receive from the employee. For example, avoid setting the meeting on birthdays/anniversaries, both company and personal.
- Hold the Termination Meeting
Set up and hold a termination meeting including the employee, yourself, and an HR representative to discuss the termination of employment. Ensure that this meeting takes place in a room which is both private and away from the employee’s work area. The meeting should be brief and should not exceed 15 minutes.
- Explain the Situation
Explain what is happening, making it clear to the employee that the decision is final and cannot, under any circumstances, be reversed.
- Be Sensitive
Be aware of how difficult the situation is and show sympathy and understanding. You want to be direct and to the point, while using a polite tone of voice that offers compassion to the employee’s situation.
- Provide Support for Career Transition
Let the employee know what type of reference you are prepared to provide to him/her. If appropriate, bring in a Career Transition Consultant at the end of the separation meeting to help the employee review the situation and determine his/her future career options.
- Be Flexible
Allow the employee to remove any and all personal belongings during a time when his/her co-workers are not around (e.g. outside of office hours). Arrange for the employee’s departure and for the return of any company property.
*This article is intended as general information only and does not constitute legal advice of any kind. This material may not be duplicated or distributed, without the written permission of Haynes Law Firm.