There are a number of reasons why you might need to terminate a member of your staff. Perhaps they’re struggling to follow the attendance policy. Maybe you have an employee who just isn’t performing. No matter the reason, it’s important to follow the proper process of termination. Here’s a step-by-step guide to terminating an employee.
- Keep extensive documentation
Before terminating an employee, you need to have cause to do so. This involves keeping extensive documentation regarding the reasons that led to the decision to terminate. Note every instance in which the employee violates workplace policies, as well as any warning issued. Proof of your efforts makes it easier to back up termination, both when letting the employee go and in legal situations.
- Assess any red flags
Make sure to consider any red flags that may come up when considering termination. For example, are all employees receiving the same treatment, regardless of position or supervisor? Are any other employees involved in the situation warranting termination? Could an employee argue that they’re being discriminated against based on a protected class? Examples of protected classes include:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
Factors that relate to pregnancy, disability, or childbirth are also potential red flags. If an employee has any of these red flags, consult with an HR or legal professional before terminating.
- Craft a termination document
Terminating an employee should include a written document that covers the reasons for the decision and next steps, such as their last day, details around their final paycheck, and other pertinent information. Go through the document during the termination meeting and request that the employee signs it to demonstrate that they have read and understood it. You should also provide a copy to the employee and keep one on file.
- Follow a checklist
During the termination meeting, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or frazzled, especially if the employee becomes angry or otherwise emotional. Following a checklist can ensure you cover all the necessary information, even if the discussion goes off track. You can also use the checklist as proof of what was covered. Here are six things to include on your termination checklist.
- Be kind and professional
Treating a terminated employee kindly and professionally can go a long way in diffusing the situation. Do your best to avoid getting emotional and try to end on a cordial note by expressing appreciation for their contributions to the company.
- Offer an open line of communication
Every employee has the right to ask questions, even when facing termination. Make sure the line of communication is open so they can raise any concerns they may have or get additional insights into the decision.
- Change passwords and access codes
Depending on the company, the terminated employee may have access to potentially sensitive information in business databases. You may want to consider cutting their access or changing the passwords just before terminating them. If your facility is locked down for security purposes, remove their access to the building or secured areas as well.
Following a careful process can protect your company while ensuring that your workforce meets expectations and follows the rules. It’s also wise to consult with a legal expert before termination if you have any concerns about the process or your decision.
Note: This post does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about the termination process, please consult a legal professional. You can also seek assistance from HR Help by Payroll People to speak with experienced HR professionals.