Three key principles behind an employee termination

by on May 26, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Employee Termination without running the risk of a lawsuit

When it comes to employee terminations, there are three principles that will give supervisors the blend, harmony, and productivity that will keep you out of court. They aren’t complicated, they’re just three key things to keep in mind.

  1. Consistency
  2. We are as human beings hot-wired to be as consistent as possible. This translates at work. You might notice an employee who out of habit parks in the same parking spot every day. Not marked or anything, it’s just theirs. And you know when someone’s always here or not here, based on that parking spot. So there is power in consistency.

  3. Documentation
  4. HR people are right. Documentation is critical for an employee termination. Some people really do have too much documentation. For most, it’s not that there’s too much, it’s that they can’t take credit for the good work they’ve done. If you look at the state agencies and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, these agencies drop a high percentage of these lawsuits. The charges don’t even get to lawsuit, because the company documented, proved you gave him/her a reasonable chance to save their job.

  5. Managing yourself.
  6. Remember you’re the boss. You have to manage the messages that you send and learn to lead by example. Just like with consistency and documentation, there can be tremendous power in this when dealing with an employee termination.

Employee termination can be done safely and effectively
An Employee termination can be done safely. Firing employees is a reward to the good people. Good people know the difference between good and bad. They’re looking to management and supervisors for leadership, and that means terminating bad employees.

It used to be so much easier to manage people, to run a unit. People didn’t worry so much about firing and hiring. You used to be able to scare employees into doing work out of fear of getting fired. But now, employees faced with termination just say, “Big deal. Go ahead and try. I was unemployed when I got this job.”

If you take a look at all the headlines where people get rewarded millions and millions of dollars for a wrongful employee termination, they have one thing in common. These lawsuits could have been avoided. When you look underneath the headlines and you get into the details, you’ll find that they could have avoided the lawsuit and all this hassle.

Of course, HR departments and the law tend to set up certain parameters that might look like they get in the way of terminating employees. It can be really frustrating. But it doesn’t keep us from doing what we need to do as managers and supervisors.

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