How to Properly Terminate an Employee in Florida
You have an employee on your hands with definite performance concerns…and even a bigger problem now: You need to terminate their employment.
Today business owners are more cautious about terminations – especially because they never know what will come back to them.
If you have an employee you need to terminate, you may want to take a few extra steps to ensure that your employee termination is solid – and that the former staffer has no way to sue your company later on for wrongful termination.
Document Each Stage of the TerminationYou can justify your termination by documenting. From the moment you notice you have an issue with your employee, you will want to start documenting all communications with that employee, their work issues, and keep performance reviews in a folder.
If there are any coaching and extra training sessions issued to help and keep the employee on par, you will want to document those as well – because this will show that you did what you could to help the employee stay.
Communicate Concerns ClearlyWrongful termination lawsuits typically happen because an employee did not realize there was anything wrong; therefore, they are terminated without reason.
If an employee is in danger of losing his or her job, do not try to sugar coat it or avoid telling the employee. Instead, let them know what issues you have and possibly ways to correct it – giving the employee a chance to redeem themselves.
Also, by discussing specific issues you have with them, you have more proof when it comes to justifying a termination if one occurs later on.
No matter what, make sure you inform the employee immediately after an issue arises so that they have adequate time to correct it.
Take Steps to Protect Your BusinessOnce you have done everything you can to help that employee, and they have not improved within a fair timeframe, it may be time to terminate the employee.
Before you actually start the termination process, make sure your reasons for the termination do not violate state or federal law.
If you are unsure, consult an attorney. Some reasons that can violate the law include pregnancy, gender, age, or other types of discrimination.
Make sure that you gather all documentation that supports or justifies your reasons for the termination. You will want to sit down with the employee with all of your documentation and discuss why you are letting them go.
Show them performance reviews, the opportunities to improve that you have provided, and how they have not improved since then. You will want to give all of the details and not be ambiguous about the fine points.
The broader you are, the more confusion that the employee may have – and the higher chance for a wrongful termination.
Do Not ArgueIf the employee pleads or argues with you, do not engage. Simply state your facts and terminate the conversation. It is best that you have a witness there – but not a peer employee.
You should have a member from your human resources department or another manager present for the termination. Having an employee’s peer present could be a violation of their rights.
Cut all employment ties right away. That includes gathering any information, badges or parking passes the employee may have.
If the employee has a login code, you will want to have your IT department change that or deactivate it immediately so that they no longer have access. Allow the employee to clear out their personal belongings, while supervised, and escort them to the doors.
By preparing for the termination ahead of time, you can reduce the likelihood an employee will be able to sue. While no one can predict the behavior of a terminated employee, having a employment law attorney present can help your termination.