For any business owner or manager, terminating an employee is a bitter part of the job. However, at times, the situation demands it. But the termination of anyone’s employment should be exercised in the most professional as well as ethical way.
If you follow the right protocol while terminating an employee, it will reduce the impact of termination on the employee. Most of the time, it is noticed that employees are left surprised when they are asked to leave, which may lead many of them to seek legal help. Therefore, if proper steps are followed, an employer can protect its firm from the morass of long-pending litigation.
The following are the 4 steps that help make the termination process easier without breaking mutual respect and trust.
Communication: An organization should maintain open communications with all its employees right from the beginning. You should inform each employee about your expectations as well as the company’s rules. If an employee is underperforming, the issue should be brought to his/her notice on time. More precisely, it is unethical to fire an employee on performance grounds if he/she is unaware of his/her poor performance.
Termination should not be the outburst of your anger: Do maintain your cool while deciding an employee’s termination of employment. At times, you may ask for a lawsuit. In such cases, you should suspend him/her with salary. Thereafter, start a proper investigation, try to gain information from all the parties involved, and then terminate the employee if the evidence suggests the person’s misconduct.
Preparation: Before taking any final step, sit down somewhere quietly and jot down your thoughts. Once your thoughts and points are clear, you will be better able to manage the situation.
Let him/her speak: You should also allow the employee—whose job will be axed—to vent his/her thoughts or complaints. It will help him/her leave the company with dignity.
Legalities of terminating employment
Whether an employee can be asked to leave or not is a legal matter and it can be decided after taking help from the counsel. As we know, the final decision on this issue rests with the management. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions. Let’s look at them.
Restrictions as per the contract: As per some employment contracts, some employees can be terminated only
For the termination of such employees, the matter should be consulted before any final decision is taken. Nevertheless, such kinds of contracts are very rare and only a few employees fall under this category whose employment cannot be terminated at will.
Besides, another type of contract that may curb an employer’s termination right is when the employee is a union member. In such cases, CBA (the collective bargaining agreement) generally takes care of the question pertaining to whether or not the worker may be fired, highlights the situations under which he/she can be terminated, and the procedures to be followed in that case. Do remember that in such cases, the CBA should be discussed with an attorney aware of all the CBA-related provisions as well as processes.
Restrictions as per law: Based on age, national origin, race, religion, physical disability, gender, sexual orientation, and other protected categories, state as well as federal law proscribes the termination of employment. While deciding to fire an employee, most of the organizations do not take these things into consideration. However, certain situations may put them in a tight corner.
Besides, several other issues need to be addressed before any decision pertaining to the termination of employment is taken. Therefore, it is important to consult with a good legal counsel in order to avoid any liability arising from an illegal termination.