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Tips for Firing a Problem Employee

Tips for Firing a Problem Employee
  • Opening Intro -

    There may come a time when you must fire an employee.

    Not just any employee, but one who has presented problems, has been repeatedly disciplined and shows no sign of reform.


Terminating an employee is not an enjoyable task and can be downright unnerving. Put off what you know you should do and morale for your entire team can suffer. Here is how to let the errant employee go.

Document Everything

For the sake of legal protection you will need to document everything related to releasing this employee. You need to be familiar with state law and make certain that you are following those guidelines very carefully.

You do not want to open yourself up to a lawsuit later. It may help to run everything past legal counsel first.

Spread Out Assignments

Examine what the soon-to-be fired employee does to determine who will take over his work when he is gone. Likely, you will need some time to fill the position, but the work load will remain.

You might split the work amongst several people or hire a temporary employee to fill in. If you choose the latter contact the temporary agency first to schedule the replacement worker to come in immediately following the employee’s termination.

Set Up An Appointment

Determine the time, date and place where you will talk with this individual. You will want to do this behind closed doors and you will also want to have a witness present.

Anticipate what questions the terminated employee may ask, including what pay he may still have coming to him and what benefits he can claim. Focus on the person’s performance — not on his personality. Allow this individual to express himself and always show respect. Above all, complete the process as quickly as possible.

Collect Personal Belongings

You need to allow the terminated employee to collect his personal belongings. Another manager can be present while this happens to ensure that the employee takes only what belongs to him. Make this process as smooth and pain free as possible.

If you anticipate that there will be a problem or an incident arises that causes consternation, you can have security backup standing by. It isn’t always easy to gauge how someone will react. However, if this person has a history of poor performance, most likely he suspected that this day would come.

Termination Considerations

When terminating a problem employee, you may think of reasons not to do it. If you delay your decision further it could have unintended consequences.

If you believe that firing an individual produces stigma, you can allow this person to resign instead. Always emphasize the positive, but avoid blathering on and on — complete the deed, then move on.

See AlsoHow to Pay Your Employees What They Are Worth



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Categories: Employee Issues

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