When Terminating Employees, Stick to Your Story
Sometimes employment decisions don’t go well. Seemingly good hires turn out badly, because of performance issues, attendance problems, inability to follow the rules, or other terminable offenses. Even the best employee screening process cannot tell you whether a candidate will succeed at the job.
When it’s time to terminate, many employers struggle with doing it right. In this age of litigation, fear of discrimination or wrongful termination lawsuits have kept many sub-performing employees on the payroll.
Employers have the right to terminate employees, but it’s best to avoid any possibility of a lawsuit. Doing so takes some organization, preparation and follow-up. And it means sticking to your reasons for termination throughout the process. Changing your story at any point is confusing to the employee, and can lead him or her to believe you are not telling the truth, which can open the door to a lawsuit.
Experts will tell you that the key to a solid termination case is to prepare yourself ahead of time. Document the employee’s performance and your actions, including counseling and recommendations for improvement. During the termination conversation, keep to the topic at hand. Don’t allow the employee to steer it to an airing of grievances or defense of his or her record. Have a witness in the room. And when informing the employee of the reasons for termination, keep it simple. Don’t try to over-explain, and don’t offer additional evidence. Simply state the reason, say the relationship didn’t work out and offer next steps.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for obtaining professional legal advice applicable to your situation.