Terminating an employee should always be done in a respectful manner
So much planning is assigned to bringing new candidates into your team and providing a seamless onboarding process. Much less time is dedicated to navigating terminations and the conditions in which your team members leave the business. Regardless of what you think about this process and how awkward and uncomfortable it can be, there is actually a right way to do it that is respectful to the person in question.
If you’re about to face these circumstances in your own business and haven’t engaged a wrongful termination lawyer, read on to get a better understanding of how you can do this appropriately.
Understand The Law
It’s normal to focus on how you are going to deliver a termination and how the person is going to react. Although familiarizing yourself with the legal commitments is going to serve you. For example, you can’t just end someone’s employment contract if they have had a miss-step. You also can’t expect to have them leave the company as soon as possible and on your terms. Employment law exists to protect their rights but also keep you safe so that you are navigating these steps correctly. At the bare minimum, you should know what your legal reason is for terminating the contract. You should also know what their course of action could be if they disagree with this reason.
It’s always wise to talk to an employment lawyer if this area feels beyond you, and you can also talk to your human resources manager to get a better understanding of how you can deliver this termination.
Try And Honor Their Unofficial Rights
Do you want to demonstrate to your employees past, present and future that you are a fair company that honors the unofficial rights of every employee? This might mean that you let the terminated employee finish out the week, say goodbye to the team members, and have access to certain work perks like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), for example. Ideally, if the circumstances of the termination are not too hostile, you might even feel it appropriate to extend a reference that outlines the years of service they carried out and the roles they completed.
Address Remaining Employees
Your work isn’t done when your terminated employee leaves the office. You want to be communicating this news to your existing team with respect. Don’t give office gossip an opportunity to thrive and also resist the temptation to say negative words about the person who’s been terminated or go into too much detail about what has taken place. This is really demonstrating exemplary behavior and letting your remaining employees know that if and when they leave the business they will not be vilified and will not be treated with disrespect. You also don’t want to get a name for yourself as a workplace with a bad work culture so reserve any opinions you might have about the terminated employee and do the right thing.
Establish A Standard Operating Procedure
You can circumvent most issues when it comes to termination by following a standard operating procedure. This reduces the chance of making a wrong decision as the decision and steps are already laid out. A procedure also empowers your managers to take charge, which is important if they don’t feel comfortable taking on this role. You can also ensure that all of your employees know exactly what this procedure is when they come on board and further reduce any friction and missteps.
It can feel like there is no right way to let someone go, but there is if you familiarize yourself with employment termination law and treat your employee with the utmost respect. Make this a collaborative approach with your human resources team and other managers so that you can consider each element.