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What to say when Firing or Dismissing an Employee


It might seem easy to fire someone, but when you are doing so, you will get to know how painful it is.

As a manager it might seem the most dreadful job to do. You will have to ask someone to stop coming to the office from the very next day, it is not that easy, even when the person has committed some serious offense.

The employee termination process is tougher because you know how it is going to affect the person’s confidence and also his personal life.

It is not easy because this one decision is going to affect the whole bunch of people in the team.

Everything is going to change from that very moment, even the responsibilities too. Everybody will be looking at you to get an answer about why this decision was so important.

Though you are not answerable to your sub – ordinates, but in order to maintain transparency, it is better to explain them the whole situation.

In fact, it might look like you have to plan the whole thing out before you actually break the bad news. It is quite difficult scenario to sit face to face with that person and ask him to leave.

There are certain level of dignity that you have to maintain and there is also several do’s and don’ts that you have to follow while you are up to it.What to say when firing an employee

Something Which you Should Never Say:

There is a list of things that you must say when you are firing someone and then there are things that you must avoid saying as well.

If you start saying that it is really hard for you to break the news, then it won’t go down well because it doesn’t matter whether it is hard for you or not as nobody cares what you feel.

Moreover, when you are saying these words in front of the employee who is about to get fired, your words will sound fake, so it is best to avoid it. Here are some others as well:

  • We have decided to make a change: No need to give a long introduction because that isn’t going to change the fact, therefore, it is better to come straight to the point and make him aware of the reasons why he is fired from the job.
  • Work out other details sometime later: The employee has to start looking for another job right away, he cannot keep coming back to know what all benefits he is supposed to get and what all formalities he needs to complete. Therefore, it is better that you prepare everything well in ahead and explain the employee all of that in details as well.
  • Staff reduction is the reason else you were really good: Do you think anybody will buy this thought of yours? No one is going to accept that because if he was good enough, then why are you firing him?

Things To Do While Firing an Employee:

So, now that you know what all you must avoid, it is time for you to know what you must do when you are firing someone.

It is not that easy, but if you remember some of the tips, then it will be much easier for you. If you knew the best way to fire an employee, then it will be less taxing for you and the process will get over without any such stress.

Cut it short:

He is not sitting there to listen to your story, in fact, he just wants to know why he is being fired.

So, cut it short and tell him the reasons which are relevant and don’t go round and round.

The meeting should be a planned one and you must have all the details ready and you must say something like – Your employment is terminated from this date and mention the date and also provide him with the benefits that he is subjected to receive.

At last, end the meeting by wishing him luck for his future.

Handle the tears:

Man CryingIt is quite natural when you will break this news, either the employee will be in a fit of anger or he will be in all tears. So, you just have to pull back yourself for a moment because here you can’t do anything.

Therefore, let them handle their emotions first and then complete the interview. If you have some angry employee, then don’t forget to ask the security people to escort him to the gate.

Ready to listen:

You must not react, instead you must come prepared to listen to the grievance and emotions of the employee because it is quite natural to behave that way.

You have to listen with due respect and try to avoid getting into some controversial comment to calm down the person. The less you talk, the better it is for you.

State out the reasons for the termination:

More than anything else the employee will be eager to know what are the reasons behind his termination, therefore, it is better that you start with – As you know and then state all the reasons that compelled you to take the decision against him.

Be polite and sensitive:

how friendly you are When you are about to break the news to the employee, you must address him by his name and then ask him to sit down.

Now tell him that you have a bad news for him in a soft tone which will help him to prepare himself for something awful and then let him know about your decision.

Specific details handed out:

You must come prepared with the benefits, payout, unused vacation, etc.

After letting him know what his last day of work will be, you can say that – Here is what you are due from the company and you can expect to get it cleared any time soon.

This way he will know that he has some financial assistance to back upon during his tough time.

Several questions asked:

You must come prepared to answer hundreds of questions of the employee like will he be receiving the severance pay or not, whether he is eligible to receive the bonus or not, when will he be receiving the paycheck, whether his coworkers will be intimidated about his termination, etc.

The list of questions will be a long one because this is probably the last time, he will be talking to you, and so he would want to get all his doubts cleared at that very moment.

Don’t be impatient, instead you must show some respect and listen to the employee carefully.

Don’t try to defend:

There is no way you can do that, so don’t even try this trick as it is never going to work out. Instead, you must stick to whatever, you know, if you are not aware of the details, then it is best to stay away from that.

Say, for example, you just know that the employee has a positive drug screen result and that is the reason behind his termination, but you are not aware whether he is a drug addict or not.

Therefore, you must not get into the details instead things will just get diluted even more.

Giving the time to wrap up:

Be there on timeWhen you say that it will be his last day of work, he will want to know whether he has the entire day to his name or he needs to leave at the very moment.

If possible, then give him enough time to bid goodbye to his colleagues and collect his stuffs.

He must also be concerned about his clients and he might ask questions regarding that, so you must come prepared with an answer for all kinds of questions.

The place of meeting is also important:

When you are holding the meeting for the employee to tell him that he is fired, you must select the place where he is most comfortable.

But, while doing that you must keep in mind that it must provide enough privacy. Another thing to take into consideration is that you must avoid the prying eyes.

If the employee has a private cabin to his name, then it will be the best place to do that.

Give warning to the employee first:

You must know when to fire an employee, if you have been providing the employee with good reviews for the last few months, then it will be a shock for him to get the termination letter.

So, what you can do is change the way you behave with this employee and start giving out signals that he might be under the scanner and he might get to face the burnt too.

Friday is not a good day:

When you are breaking the news to the employee ensure that you don’t do it on a Friday because that way he will have enough time to brood on it over the weekend and come prepared for the fight on Monday. So, it is best to do it on weekdays.

Let them know about the specific behavior:

Let the employee know the behaviors that you found unacceptable in the office premises.

If you are giving them the first warning, then let them know what they can do to get in the good books again, else let them know the reasons behind his termination.

Don’t drag them into any kind of conversation, else it will turn into a fight.


There are chances that you might get sued for terminating the employee, but you must be prepared for that because no matter what the situation is nobody takes it well when he is fired.

So, you have to handle this tough situation with proper maturity and act compassionately as well.

If anyone of you have anyone of you have been through the termination process, then you can share your story with us and also let us know what you feel.