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HR Insights with Ali: The Right - And Wrong - Way to Fire Someone

Posted on 2/15/2017 by Ali Oromchian, Esq.
While terminating an employee is never a pleasant process, removing a problematic member of your staff can, and should, have an overall positive effect on your practice. However, if the termination process is handled improperly, it can come back and wreak havoc on your business. Baseless unemployment claims, wage disputes and fabricated discrimination claims can all result from a termination gone wrong. Here are some suggestions as to how to terminate someone properly:

•  Make sure that your paperwork is in order. Hopefully you have documented the events supporting this termination, including date(s) of fireable activity, descriptions of why those actions were unacceptable (if necessary), witnesses to events, and dates of conversations held with the employee to provide termination warnings, if applicable.

•  Decide when, and where, termination will take place. Generally speaking, terminating someone as soon as possible after a terminable offense is preferable (assuming you have all of the necessary documentation to support the termination).

•  Decide what will be said, drafting a script if necessary. When you meet with the employee, you need to be clear that a decision has already been made. Do not leave room for argument. If the employee begins an argument, do not engage. Simply state again that the decision has already been made and move on to the “practicalities” of the termination, such as the handover of office keys and signing of termination documents.

•  After the termination has taken place, draft a document outlining the events of the meeting, listing when you met, who was there, and what was said to the employee.

The most common challenges associated with termination come from inadequate or unclear documentation. That is why it is important to make notations of employee issues before they lead to termination, if possible. Proper documentation in support of termination can protect your practice in case of future labor disputes. If you have any questions or are seeking advice in terms of terminating an employee, the HR specialists at HR for HEALTH are here to help. Simply open a ticket titled “Employee Termination” and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have to ensure you are lowering your risk.

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