Employee termination should never be a hasty decision. Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding are long, expensive processes and can be avoided by reducing employee turnover. There are several things you should consider before terminating an employee. Here are just a few:
- Communication. Have you had clear communication with the employee about expectations and where they are falling short? It's possible the employee may be oblivious to the problem. If a simple conversation about performance and expectations will fix the issue, then it's a win-win!
- Consider moving the employee to a new department. You may have a rock-star employee who is simply in the wrong position. If you find an employee isn't performing well, talk with the employee. See where their interests are and think about other positions in your company where they could be a fit.
- Don't get personal. You could face a serious lawsuit for employment discrimination and wrongful discharge if you fire someone for personal reasons or based on their race, religion, age, sex, disability, medical condition, etc. If you have questions about what might be considered employment discrimination, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Position elimination vs. performance issues. Will the employee be replaced? Eliminating a position entirely is typically easier to defend than letting someone go for performance issues. Is the employee being terminated due to poor performance? If this is the case, you'll need to have a well-documented paper trail that includes performance evaluations and prior warnings signed by the employee.
- Take into consideration unemployment benefits. In most states, terminated employees are eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits for a determined period of time unless they leave employment voluntarily or are terminated for cause. Maintaining the correct documentation leading up to termination can help protect your business against unnecessary unemployment claims that can raise your tax rates.
- Contact your human resource consultant. Your HR consultant is there to help with sticky HR issues. They can give you guidance on how to correct an employee's behavior, the proper documentation you'll need to keep, and if absolutely necessary guidance when firing an employee. Take advantage of this resource and don't do anything hasty without consultation.
It is important to remember that a termination should be well thought out and planned. After considering all other options, termination should only occur if absolutely necessary.
Do you have questions about whether or not to terminate an employee or how it should be done? Contact one of our expert HR representatives at (888) 819-5952 and we’ll help you get on the road to smarter HR.