5 Steps to Terminating an Employee

Before uttering the words “you’re fired” to an employee, make sure you do your research. You should know exactly why you are terminating them, or things could get messy. It’s always hard telling someone they need to find a new job, but it’s even worse if there’s no real reasoning behind it. Once you know why you are firing your employee, you need to figure out the best way to do so. These next steps will explain the best way to terminate an employee.

firing an employee


Give the employee a notice


Employers aren’t obligated to give their employees a warning before termination, but it helps soften the blow. Giving the employee a notice and explaining what they are doing wrong gives them a chance improve, therefore, keeping them from being fired. If they don’t improve, it shows they don’t want the job as bad as they should.


Handle the termination professionally


If the employee doesn’t improve after a notice, then it’s time to terminate them. It needs to be handled with dignity and in a professional manner. The firing should occur in private, away from other employees. There should be only one witness to keep from any issues or embarrassment.


Avoid sugarcoating


You need to be straightforward with why they are being fired. Your credibility could be questioned if the employee is misled. They could say it is a pretext or false. You don’t want to be unclear and the employee claim it was discrimination. That could put your position at danger.


Be brief


Adding unnecessary information can cause more confusion for the employee. If they decide to bring you to court, irrelevant material can create more questions. Be prepared with a bulleted list or a script can save you from any problems.


Communicate all legal requirements


Be sure to thoroughly communicate legal requirements such as, benefits, last paycheck, unemployment options, etc.  Confirm everything in writing. Don’t deny unemployment benefits. This can save you from the employee contacting an attorney.


The next time you think an employee needs to be terminated, come back to these steps to handle it professionally. You now know the best and more respectable way to let someone go. Court can be avoided, especially when it comes to firing employees.

For more information, the state of Illinois offers a great page of details: https://www.illinois.gov/idol/FAQs/Pages/default.aspx.