An employer holds the top most position in the pyramid of corporate people. This top position holds its own duty and responsibility. It is expected of the employers to work ideally according to the laws. Terminating an employee is one of the most crucial decisions. It can have a direct effect on the company and its other workers. Firing an employee is a crucial decision as it may come along with various consequences. Firing someone, who have worked for a long time may also affect the emotional status of both the persons. It is a sensitive topic and you should handle it with care. There are occasions where the unprepared managers barge in the cabin of an employee and drop in their dismissal letter. Cherry on the top in such situation is that the employees’ are given no (valid) explanation. Such insensitive and illogical termination might land you and your company in a huge legal battle. Thus, you need to consider various facts before you decide on firing an employee.
The Correct Way to Terminate an Employee:
There are things that you should keep in mind. They can save you from being caught up in unnecessary lawsuits and fines. Reputation is an important asset for a businessperson; hence, one should take care to maintain it.
1. Revise the position of the person with capability and requirement:
An employee does not enter a firm or a sector without being selected at some sort of interview. That clearly indicates that the employee must be possessing some or the other skills and is capable of doing a certain job. Now, for a small-scale firm it may be unnecessary to keep excess amount for work force as it may only increase the investment. However, if you are an employer of a huge and financially equipped firm then you must revise the skills of the person and should consider if he could be assigned some other tasks. An employee shares an emotional bond with an organization as soon as he/she becomes a part of the place. Termination from the source of the income is a huge decision; therefore, think whether this termination is an utmost necessity or not.
2. Make sure to have a valid reason in written sooner (before firing):
As a person, with the power of hiring or firing any one, the employer should be able to come up with a valid explanation or reason. Both the duties i.e. hiring and firing are major activities that have a huge effect on the working system of an organization. The reason provided by the employer should be brief and valid. One should clearly mention whether it was the economic condition that made way to this decision or it was something related to the performance (with proof). If the reason revolves around the bad performance theory then the proof should be in the form of the performance chart status of the past six months at least. Moreover, it is very important to mention whether the position will be replaced by someone and on what basis. To sum it up well, the employer must be able to justify his decision with valid proof and reasons.
3. Keep your proof updated and loop free:
Corporate sectors stand on the base of competition. There is a rigorous competition between businesspersons all around the world to be the best. In the race of the best, some are honest and hardworking while some always search for shortcuts. Shortcuts are easy and trouble free. Most people follow the rule ‘If you cannot be good then make others look bad’. Always keep in mind that not everyone is drop dead honest with you all the time. Now an employer of a huge corporate, might not be able to reach and evaluate all employees. Therefore, the managers and supervisors are appointed all throughout the sectors. However, you can never be sure of the information they provide. There prejudice or bias attitude may make them report invalid reasons against someone. Therefore, always double-check the information if you are deciding on firing an employee. This will not only give you a proof of a valid firing but may also save you from taking wrong decisions.
4. Company rules and regulation within the termination policy:
Company policies are the best way to make any decision regarding the hiring and firing of an employee. If a person fails to follow the rules or the policies by any chance then you have valid reasons to take actions on you. However, you also need to collect lawful evidence in your favor. Make sure that your policy does include all the possible rules. It may start from the romance in the workplace policy to the monthly performance along with the procedure of the termination. It is upon you to make a legal policy with the help of the attorney.
5. Legal clauses and acts in favor of the employee (check whether employees fall into any condition):
Legal battles are the worst things to be engaged in ever. A businessperson always knows how important his time and resources are for the company. In such cases, one always looks out for better options. The best way to keep safe is by checking out all the possible acts that might favor your employee. Never let your personal reasons come in between any business related decisions. Judging people because of their race, color or creed is the most inhumane thing to do. There are laws that do protect people who fall under the discrimination due to the race, sex, disability, nationality, etc. An employee’s performance and behavior are the only factors that should decide the status of an employee within a company. Always make sure to include a little bit of judicial help so that you do not have unnecessary lawsuits to deal with later.
6. Look out for both the factors i.e. performance and behavior:
Any corporate in today’s time would prefer no-tolerance policy as a part of the company’s policy. Violence in the workplace does not only hurt people but also ruin the atmosphere of the work. As a result, it might affect the productivity of the company. If an employee fails to abide to the no-tolerance policy then you are free to fire the person. However, if firing him/her may serve as a potential threat on you or your family then you might opt for legal attorney to draft the termination letter of the person. In addition, you can avoid a face-to-face termination. If your company policy requires you to have a one on one encounter with the person then make sure to have a third party in the room. You never know what can be used against you.
7. Being impartial is a duty as well as responsibility:
Partiality is another aspect that you need to take care of while making any important decision. The first question that you should ask yourself when firing an employee is whether you are being fair to the individual or not. The last thing you want is your reputation being ruined. Apply the rules equally on everyone. If you decide on firing someone who could not complete a target twice in a row then you should apply the same rule to everyone. If others employees are falling under same category then the same rule should be applied on all of them. If you fail to do so then you might find yourself fighting a legal battle and most probably also lose it. Legal compensations are excessively expensive.
8. Do not fire them right away:
The most annoying scenario is the one where the employer can barely do anything. Getting rid of someone who creates unnecessary troubles may be the first thought that occur in your mind. However, unfortunately you can never fire them right away. Due to employee act, employees can easily file a complaint against any organization if they discriminate them based on the color, cast, creed, race, etc. As a result, any employee can file a complaint against you and your company. Even if their claims were fake, if you fire or take any action against them you would easily be trapped in the legal battle. Of course, you cannot fire them right away; however, if you have enough material or proof to retaliate then you can take an action. Thus, at least wait until you have enough written evidence against the employee. In addition, it is advisable for the employer to wait for approximately six months from the day the employee has taken an action.
9. Record track through paper trail:
A paper trail is a performance status of an employee. Record of accomplishment will give a brief idea of the employee and his work during his work tenure. It also should contain any comments, negative or positive reports, warning or notices, etc. that is issued by you or the supervisor. Of course, remember point 3 and make your system loop free. This will prove to be a base to any decision you make. For example, if you decide on firing employee ‘A’ whose performance is equal to employee ‘B’, then you will have a reason written in the form of the track report to support your decision. If employee ‘B’ has progressed during his tenure and the employee ‘A’ failed to do so then you can use it as one of the reason in the form of statistic.
10. Respect your employee and maintain the confidentiality:
The worst form of termination is the one that holds a lot of embarrassing and humiliating. An employee forms a bond with the company the second he or she starts working or being a part of the system. As a result, being fired from the place he or she had so many ambitions’ attached to is an emotional thing. In such a situation, if you turn into an insensitive and arrogant person then you might get a lot of trouble later. Lawsuit may not knock on your doors but you might lose the respect among your other associates. Businesses run on reputation; however, this may affect your reputation in the market. Moreover, it is equally important to maintain the confidentiality of any topic. You should not humiliate someone with his or her shortcomings. Instead, you can end things on a better note.
11. Take care of confidentiality and company properties:
Unlike small-scale companies, corporates provide every employee their own employee identity card, business e-mail id, laptops, mobile phones and/or other accessories. As an executive, you need to make sure that everything should be returned. Moreover, also get your technical department to change or deactivate all the Ids that work through the employee. Make sure that your HR department follows up with the person and takes care of the severance money. Also, make sure to involve the money if the person did not make use of the paid vacation that the company provides. This will help you end on a good note with the employee. As a result, he or she would not create any unnecessary nuisance.
12. Call a meeting and clarify:
Well, firing an employee is a sensitive task and thus you should make sure to make it little to no humiliation at all. However, you need to inform your team regarding the elimination, as it will affect the task and duties of people. However, make sure that you keep the shortcomings of the former employee as confidential as you can.
13. Reference contact:
What would you do if your former employee calls you for the reference? To be honest the person does have the skill to be hired or else he or she may not have been a part of your organization. You should not deny giving a reference of the person. However, you need to maintain the confidentiality. Mention the dates of his or her employment status but not a thing more than the dates. The employee may never come to know about what you said; however, your inner conscience might attack you.
Therefore, consider these 13 things before firing an employee and be safe.