No HR professional gets into the industry to fire or terminate employees. But it is unfortunately a necessary evil of the job.
Letting an employee go is never an easy decision. Whether your reasons for firing an employee are based on work performance, due to an economic layoff, or for another reason, following the proper termination procedure goes a long way in avoiding legal issues. Avoid firing someone on the spot, and use severance and release agreements to limit your liability.
Worry not, SWHRC has the information needed to ensure you are making the best decision while lessening your liability! Below are several important steps an HR professional, small business owner or manager should do before letting the employee go.
Pinpoint Reasons: First, the manager needs to pinpoint the main reason for letting someone go – layoff, violation of policy, performance – then the manager, with the help of an HR specialist, needs to ensure that the reason is not discriminatory in any way.
Setup Termination Meeting: From there, the manager should plan for the termination meeting. During the meeting, the manager should provide a short explanation for the decision. This is not the time to rehash the employee’s entire employment history nor is this the time for the manager and employee to negotiate extending the working relationship.
Final Pay and Benefits Information: The meeting should also include information on the employee’s final pay and benefit information, including COBRA.
Timing is Important!: The timing of the meeting is important too.
“While Fridays seem like a good day for a meeting, the best day is Monday”, says Scanlon. “This lets everyone at work adjust to working without the employee in the office. It also allows the employee time to begin pursuing an alternative job right away.”
Notify Existing Employees/Department: The manager needs to consider notifying the current employees and customers about the decision, pending on role and position with the company. It’s important to provide a truthful explanation while maintaining privacy. Current employees will be interested in knowing how job duties are going to be divided up while customers will want reassurances that their needs will still be met. With careful planning, the manager will be able to quickly move forward.
Stay tuned for more important HR tips from SW HR Consulting and have a great Memorial Day Holiday!