- Blog post
When should you issue an employee termination over the telephone?
Employee terminations over the phone should only be done in specific circumstances
Many HR people would cringe at the idea of issuing an employee termination over the telephone. It seems unprofessional and a wimpy way to avoid an awkward confrontation. But there are specific circumstances when delivering an employee termination by phone may be your best bet. You may have to do it when:
You never come face to face with the employee.
If you’re in another location and have never seen the person, a face-to-face employee termination may be impractical.
You can’t tolerate the employee’s return
If the person created a hostile work environment and you have plenty of witnesses, you may want to advise by phone of suspension pending further notification. Then send a registered letter of employee termination – so you have proof it was received.
The employee plays games.
Problem workers expecting termination may do this, failing to show up for work or coming in at odd times, to make it hard for you to pin them down.
Before deciding that termination via telephone is unavoidable, remember these possible downsides:
- Morale damage.
The ex-employee may use the story to stoke indignation among friends who are still employed. “They didn’t have the guts to tell me to my face.”
- Absence of witnesses.
Unless you set up a conference call with another manager, you won’t have anyone to back you up in case the employee sues and misrepresents what you said.