Four critical areas to consider when firing an employee

by on May 29, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Watch these areas to prevent a lawsuit when firing an employee

  1. Be consistent with your policy and procedures.
  2. Those of you who may have a union are actually in better shape in many respects in that. Here it is. Here is the situation. Everybody knows it’s 27 steps to fire. You build the documentation, you missed step 18, you got to start all over again. But don’t give up if that happens, keep building the documentation, keep following your procedures. You must be consistent. The more consistent you are with your procedures, the easier it is to manage, the safer it is when firing an employee.

  3. Be willing to make exceptions.
  4. This is where HR drives you crazy. You’re being told to be consistent and make exceptions. You want to make an exception for good employees. You’ll want to make exceptions not for people that drive me crazy as a manager but for good people. Make an exception for the person who does a good job and doesn’t create trouble. If you’ve got an employee who just slugs it out with you, who quietly comes in, does their work, and doesn’t get in your face about how wonderful she is or how she should be getting a raise, that’s the type of person you want to make an exception for. Even if its something as simple as taking someone out to lunch, recognize and make exceptions for that kind of behavior. Be consistent and make exceptions, not based on age or sex or race but based on performance, based on behavior. It’s the same idea when firing an employee; look at performance and behavior.

  5. Build documentation before firing an employee
  6. Don’t forget that when you’re firing an employee, the burden of proof is on you. You look at most of the states, EEOC rejects 60% of all charges of discrimination that come in. Everyone’s freaked out about the law but they reject 60%. Why? Usually because HR made us as management do the documentation before firing an employee. Was this employee given a reasonable chance to save their job? Yes. And they decided not to take the offer? Yes. The power of documentation. You want to make sure you can take credit for it when firing an employee.

  7. Consider you’re role as a part of the leadership when firing an employee.
  8. Interestingly enough, all four generations—Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and now the Millennials—they all have one thing in common. They all want to be part of something special. They’re all looking for leadership. They have trouble finding it, especially the Millennials. They have very high standards. They’re looking out to see how we behave. They’re really going to force us to be better managers. And to some extent, part of being better managers is knowing when to fire an employee. The recession will take some of the edge off, but if we give them the experience, they’re going to run with it. But they’re looking. People are looking for leadership, which can come in the form of firing an employee to send a message to others.

Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar: “Yes, You Can Fire Without Fear! What Every Supervisor Needs to Know” by Hunter Lott on April 29, 2009

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