Crucial Steps Before Firing an Employee

Crucial Steps Before Firing an Employee
  • Opening Intro -

    Regardless of how thorough you are in the hiring process, there will inevitably come a time when an employee stops meeting the needs of your company, and you will have to let them go.

    When the time comes, it is important to handle the situation properly to prevent potential issues.


After all, poor firing practices are one of the most common HR mistakes that a company can make—and one of the most costly. When proper termination practices aren’t carried out, there is a large risk that your company may incur detrimental legal trouble in the case that an employee feels that wrongful termination occurred.

As such, it is essential to take the time to complete these crucial steps before firing an employee.

Clearly Outline and Communicate Company Policies

The first step to avoiding legal trouble when firing an employee is to outline your company’s policies and clearly communicate them to all employees. Disciplinary policies and potential causes of termination should be thoroughly outlined in your employee handbook.

To ensure that all employees are aware of these policies, have every member of your staff read them and sign a form indicating that they have received and understand the company’s disciplinary policies.

Thoroughly Document Violations To Company Policy

When it comes to preventing legal issues involving an employee’s termination, thorough documentation is key. Whenever an employee violates company policy, make sure to document the incident in writing and store it in their file.

By documenting all cases of company policy violation, you can provide support for your claims and justify your reasoning if a termination is eventually necessary.

Make an Honest Effort To Rectify the Issue

Before terminating an employee, it is proper procedure to try to rectify the situation—this is a crucial step to take before firing an employee. To do so, make sure that employees are made aware of their wrongdoing every time they violate company policy. If they aren’t aware of the problem, they can’t improve.

In addition to notifying the employee of the issue, create a performance improvement plan (PIP) to address any major employee performance concerns. The PIP should outline the areas that the employee has problems in and include detailed objectives that must be met to resolve the issues.

Meet With the Employee and Carefully Explain Your Reasoning for Termination

If you have made an effort to resolve the issue and matters don’t improve, you may choose to proceed with the employee’s termination. In such a case, be prepared to provide evidence in the form of interviews and documents to validate your reasoning for the employee’s termination. When firing the employee, sit down with them and carefully explain your decision to let them go in a brief and clear manner to avoid any miscommunication.

other valuable tips:

Provide Information Regarding Unemployment Benefits

When firing an employee, make sure that all legal requirements regarding their termination are met. For example, employers must provide terminated employees with information regarding their unemployment benefits, such as:

  • Their last paycheck
  • Their unemployment options
  • Potential transportability of insurance

If you choose to deny a terminated employee with such unemployment benefits, you may be faced with claims of wrongful termination or discrimination.

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