Applications and Evaluations are Critical Documents When Terminating an Employee.

by on May 28, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Terminating an employee involves assembling all of the necessary documentation to prove your case

Good documentation includes hiring documentation, evaluations, disciplinary memos, and performance improvement plans, investigation documentation, and then, whatever documentation you have from the termination procedures. Notice the first thing included there was application and hire documentation. Why do we talk about application when this is about terminating an employee? If we hire better people, they’re less likely to be trouble for us. That’s one of the reasons why we have applications. The company should ensure that an application is completed in full. And one very important section of an application asks for names and contact information for references. Checking references is really important.

Although, prior employers may not talk to you, you know, as it turns out, often times, they will and you could learn very valuable information. Gaps in employment history are also significant and to make sure you ask about all gaps. You want to check up on things because if somebody is lying to you from the outset, that may not bode well for the future employment of that person.

Application
Your application should also include a statement saying that the individual is providing truthful and accurate information. If you find out later that somebody lied on his or her application it’s going to be useful and potentially helpful information if you’re terminating that employee. So you want them to sign it, you want them to swear that it’s true, and it might be useful later if you end up going through termination procedures.

Performance evaluations are valuable when terminating an employee
One of the central documents that employers use is the yearly evaluation. These evaluations serve a couple purposes. They are a valuable means for the company to determine whether an employee is meeting the expected performance standard. They give the company an opportunity to discuss and document unacceptable performance or performance which is below the expected standard.

An accurate and thorough evaluation can be relied upon for future disciplinary actions, as well as in termination procedures. In many cases, the evaluation is really the key document that you’re going to have when it comes to terminating an employee. So, for this reason, unacceptable performance must be accurately documented on the evaluation, even if you feel uncomfortable about it, which a lot of people do. When it comes time to write it down, people get squeamish, but it’s very important that you do write it down because it will be useful later on when you are terminating an employee that isn’t performing up to standards.

Evaluations should be in writing. They should be done in a timely manner and they should be thorough. They should also be fair, accurate, and realistic. You want to include specific places where the employee is not meeting expectations. You want to be consistent and treat similarly situated employees similarly. So, if you’re reviewing twenty people, you want to review them all in the same manner. Just like with terminating an employee, you want to have the same methodology for how you go about it.

Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar: How to Document Terminations So You Won’t Lose a Lawsuit by Alyssa Senzel given on June 7, 2006

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