Your business thrives because you and your employees provide great services and fantastic customer service to your clients. When it comes time to fire an employee for any reason, you may wonder how to go about it. Saying "You're fired!" isn’t all there is to terminate an employee. There's much more to it than that in the real world. You must do the necessary investigation, reprimands, and if you must fire your employee, the paperwork. If you think you may need to fire an employee, look at the four tips below.
Don't Fire at the Spur of the Moment
When you learn that your employee did something deserving of termination, be it something your business has a zero-tolerance policy against or several smaller offenses that built up over time, don't overreact. Even for zero tolerance offenses, don't just fire your employee. Investigate the cause. For instance, if their actions caused a high dollar client to decide to take their business elsewhere, find out why they didn’t use customer service. Take time to think and consult a business partner if you can to decide the proper course of action. If you take a step back and decide that you must fire your employee, you know you aren't reacting in the heat of the moment.
Don't Fire Your Employee in Front of Everyone
Don't let the heat of the moment carry you into an embarrassing situation. Firing an employee in the middle of your business not only embarrasses them, but also any other staff and yourself. It can also damage your reputation if any of your clients overhear you.
Keep all discussion behind closed doors. Invite your employee into your office to discuss the situation. Calmly let them know what they did. Talk it over to see what they say. Let them know that you need some time to go over the consequences and let them know a time that you'll need them to come back into your office.
Do Plan a Termination Meeting
If it is necessary to terminate employee, plan the meeting. Plan what you'll say, who will be included in the meeting, and bring the necessary evidence and paperwork. It's important not to terminate them over email. It's impersonal, rude, and unprofessional.
You should include someone from your business's HR department in the meeting. If you don't have one, you could include your business co-owner, a manager, or another employee. Regardless of who can be present, you need to have evidence. This could be your employee manual, written documentation, or recordings. This is important because employees who may believe that they are being targeted or discriminated against may contact the EEOC. This documentation can help protect you and your business.
Let them know what they did. Be sure you let them know that it was "for cause." Although most states have “at will” employment, it is generally safer for businesses to fire when there is a legitimate reason.
Also, it's worth stating again that you should not terminate the employee in front of everyone else. Give them their dignity.
When You Can't Fire
Maybe your employee needs to go on a leave for military or maternity. By the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if you fire an employee for going on this leave, you are opening yourself up for a lawsuit. Also, firing a woman because she becomes pregnant may open your business up for trouble. You need to study your local and federal laws when you hire and fire employees. Doing so can help protect you and your business against lawsuits.
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