The ten things you never do in an employee termination

by on May 22, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Make these missteps during an employee termination and they may come back to haunt you

There are ten basic but key mistakes that employers make with an employee termination that can come back in the subsequent lawsuits

  1. No documentation or inadequate documentation of the employee’s poor performance prior to the employee termination termination.
  2. This is a very common termination mistake.

  3. No written employment policies or handbook.
  4. As supervisors or managers, that’s probably not your function, but you should be aware that that’s an employee termination issue. If you can encourage your company to institute policies or get those policies to be re-drafted, all the better.

  5. Failure to follow written policies or handbook in discipline and employee termination decisions.
  6. Now, this falls squarely in your laps. You need to be familiar with your company’s policies. If you have a handbook, know the handbook, and make sure you’re taking discipline decisions in accordance with those policies. Failing to do so is a very common termination mistake.

  7. Lack of warnings or progressive discipline prior to the employee termination.
  8. You really, want to progressively discipline employees. That’s not to say if someone engages in some very severe misconduct that you cannot jump immediately to termination. But as you’re disciplining someone, make sure they know that further misconduct is going to result in discipline up to and including discharge.

    If you’re telling that to employees in writing along the way as you discipline them, when it comes time for termination, they cannot or at least should not be surprised.

  9. No investigation or poor investigation of facts before the employee termination.
  10. Make sure you know the full story, both sides. If there are witnesses you need to interview or that HR needs to interview, make sure you know fully what happened before you decide to pull the trigger.

  11. Discriminatory application of policies.
  12. You don’t want perceived favoritism. You want to make sure that you’re enforcing your policies consistently and uniformly.

  13. The penalty doesn’t fit the crime.
  14. You don’t want your action to seem too harsh based on what the employee did, especially if there are no prior warnings. If you’ve laid the foundation for an employee termination, when you get there, it’s not going to be a surprise.

  15. Poor planning of the exit interview.
  16. You don’t want to wing it. You want to prepare what you’re going to say. Make sure you’re ready for this and that it’s carried out professionally and planned.

  17. Failure to communicate effectively and completely the provable reasons for the termination.
  18. It sounds simple but many times, people don’t want to say the actual reason. Or they get to talking and it starts to get muddy you just need it to communicate completely, exactly what the reason is and move on.

  19. The reasons for the employee termination are not communicated to those that don’t need to know, especially co-workers.
  20. Really, there’s no reason to give reasons. You just have to say that person no longer work here, and that’s it. Try to leave it at that.

This is the edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar “Firing Employees Without Getting Sued -What Supervisors Really Need To Know” by Laura Liss, Esq. held on October 5, 2006.

Leave a Reply


Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.