The six steps to correctly document an employee termination

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

Air-tight documentation can win employee termination lawsuits

When dealing with employee termination for performance, you’ll need ironclad documentation to avoid legal problems later. Here are six steps for building that documentation:

  1. State your expectations
  2. Be clear on what’s expected. This avoids debate and excuses later if you wind up dealing with employee termination. For Joe in production, whose output has been falling, you’ll note the company expects a monthly average of X units/hour. For Mary in payroll, who hasn’t learned some new procedures, you’ll state exactly which procedures she needs to know.

  3. Describe what must change
  4. Don’t accuse in broad terms. Specify what the employee has been doing wrong. You’ll remind Joe that for six months, his production has lagged by X%. For Mary, you’ll say her failure has made her supervisor work overtime.

  5. Get their explanation
  6. Two reasons: a) it’s fair and b) the employee’s rationale for his/her behavior may be weak or absent. That gives you solid grounds for any later action. Joe says he’s been under the weather lately. Mary says she needs glasses, and can’t read a manual on the procedures.

  7. Formulate a plan
  8. Even if you suspect employees won’t improve, you need a plan for them to do so. Then they can’t say you didn’t work with them once you get to the employee termination phase. With Joe, you set interim benchmarks that let him track where he is more frequently. You agree Mary will get glasses, read the manual, and have weekly Q&A sessions on the procedures with her supervisor.

  9. Set a time frame
  10. A plan without a time goal is no plan at all. You might give Joe 30 days and Mary 60, depending on how mission-critical the improvement is in each case.

  11. State the consequences
  12. We all know the phrase: “Discipline up to and including employee termination.” It’s boilerplate, sure, but necessary. The employee needs to know where the endpoint is.

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