o Arrange a time to talk with the employee in person. Do not procrastinate once you have made the decision.
o Decide who is going to deliver the message. The employee's manager is the best person to terminate the employee. The manager should be coached and receive guidance about how to conduct a termination meeting. Sometimes a witness should be present.
Pick a Neutral Place
o Use a conference room if such is available, the conversation should be private.
o Consider the day on which to deliver the news. It is best to terminate an employee in the middle of the workweek rather than a Friday. Terminating mid-week allows the employee the opportunity to immediately begin a new job hunt.
o Avoid terminating employees around holidays or dates of significance to the employee, such as his/her birthday.
Communicating the Decision
o The actual meeting with the employee should be brief, respectful, and to the point.
o Employer should engage in a candid, honest discussion about the reasons for the termination.
o Employers who do not answer a truthful reason for a termination may risk legal exposure.
Do NOT Exaggerate
o Do not exaggerate the employee's poor performance or over-justify the decision.
o Be firm and direct: Here is the decision, here are the reasons, and here is the information for what happens next.
o The discharge should be carried out in a calm, professional, manner.
Address Administrative Issues
o The employee's final paycheck, including any vacation pay should be available. The terminated employee should sign a written acknowledgment that the employee has received his/her final pay.
o Employer should collect keys, badges, uniforms, cell phones and other company property, including the company's employee handbook.
o The employer should review the company's confidentiality policy with the employee.
o The law requires the employer to give the employee certain forms.
Managing the Transition
o After the termination meeting, notify other staff members as soon as possible to stop the rumor mill and deal with any morale issues, providing a simple, neutral explanation. Too many details may result in accusations of defamation.
o The employer should also notify customers and clients, and assure them that the transition will be smooth.
Warning: Terminating an Executive/Key Employee or Member of a Protected Class
o A Separation and Release Agreement should be signed by the employee.
o Contact labor/employment attorney prior to terminating the employee.
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