The art of firing employees...
As a Human Resources manager or small business owner, you will
eventually have to terminate an employee. No matter how carefully
you screen new hires or how efficiently you run the business,
you will fire someone at one time or another. And it is always
best to go into these situations prepared.
When firing employees, employer conduct during the termination
period becomes especially important. First it is helpful not
to burn bridges with previous employees. Second, professional
conduct reduces the possibility of legal ramifications that may
come out of firing employees. This is why discussing firing employees
and employer conduct go together.
As an employer, before beginning the termination process, it
is essential to give employees the opportunity to redeem themselves
on-the-job. There is always the possibility the employee does
not know that their skills are lacking. If the disciplinary action
is something as simple as consistent tardiness, there may be
a reason. Possibly, their arrival time is interfering with dropping
their children off at the baby-sitter or with a spouse coming
home from work to take the kids. If this is the case, they may
simply be too afraid to speak up. This is, if course, a situation
that you and the employee can work out through counseling and
maybe even a small schedule change.
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Despite the size of the disciplinary problem, you must document
any discussions and warnings for an employee's behavior. This
way you have a good idea of how often a problem occurs. As well,
if the employee's conduct goes against all company policies,
you may decide to table the discussions of firing employees and
employer conduct. The answer is simply to fire the employee.
Firing Employees and Employer Conduct for Sick or Injured Employees
Another good rule of conduct for HR managers or small business
owners to keep in mind is that it usually is not a good idea
to terminate employees while they are off work sick or injured.
This has legal ramifications, whether the employee is away because
of a childbirth, a back injury or a simple cold. Of course depending
on the circumstances, you may eventually have to terminate the
employee if their illness becomes a permanent condition that
will not allow them to return to work.
Before you have had a chance to sit down and discuss a sick
employee’s situation, you should not just replace their
position with another employee. Remember you always have the
option of hiring a temporary worker or using an employee from
another division to fill in temporarily. If however a sick employee
returns from medical leave to find their job permanently filed,
you will have a messy legal nightmare on your hands. It is best
to use temporary help until it is possible to speak with the
employee about their future with the company. As far as firing
employees and employer conduct goes, this is the safest bet to
ensure that both parties will end up happy with the result of
a sick or injured employee.
Of course, if the employee has been sent home because of an
illness or injury and has not responded to numerous phone calls,
e-mails, and written letters about returning to work, this is
a different case. You should carefully document all attempts
to contact the employee along the way. If it all fails, you may
have to write a termination letter and file the employee’s
position. And it's worth repeating here . . . just make sure
you carefully record and copy all attempts at communication with
the sick or injured employee.
Stop accepting poor results start firing bad employees.
Here's what you must do.