There is no doubt one of the most difficult situations to address as a manager is the termination of an employee. No matter the reason for termination, if it is voluntary or involuntary, if you are laying someone off or terminating them for lack of performance, make sure you are well prepared to protect yourself and your company.
The stress in these sorts of situations can often be immeasurable, thus preparation helps avoid common mistakes managers make during the process. Review the following suggestions to create your own process for terminations:
- Always have a witness
- Do not misclassify the termination as a “layoff” to ease the pain
- Remember the FLSA (the Fair Labor Standards Act) protects specific groups, thus your termination must not be based on a reason related to a protected class
- Do not apologize; do not argue; do not talk too much
- Explain the business reason for the termination
- Keep the termination confidential and avoid discussing specifics with other staff members
- Remember to retrieve all company property during the process
- Review state law and determine if you are required to give the employee a final check at the time of termination
Terminations are often difficult, however, making an effort to streamline the process by preparing your managers accordingly, creating a company policy for terminations, and regularly reviewing that policy to ensure that you are not violating any state or federal employment laws will protect your business and hopefully alleviate some of the stress that is associated with these situations.