Joseph has always been a surly, hard-to-like employee, but today he’s gone too far. He’s just cursed you, his supervisor, to your face. You’re steaming – and justifiably so.

Your organization’s policy specifically identifies insubordination as grounds for termination. So you curtly inform him Joseph that he’s been insubordinate, and he’s fired.

When you cool down, you reflect that, yes, maybe, you lost control of your emotions a little bit, but who wouldn’t? And you had justification to fire Joseph. So you’re OK, right?

Well, maybe. But it’s also very possible that you’ve put your employer at risk. That’s because you’ve done one thing you should never, never, never do.

Fire someone when you’re angry.

When you feel that urge, walk away. You’ve got plenty to time to fire Joseph. And – especially when you’re dealing with a jerk – you want to take the time to get it right.

You’ll want to check with HR, for example (maybe Joseph is suing the company and your firing will look like retaliation). You want to be sure your senior management isn’t blindsided (maybe they just decided to make Joseph employee of the month). You want to be sure Joseph doesn’t turn around and say you were the one doing the cursing, and not have your documentation in order.

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