You may have had specific expectations when you hired a new employee. Whether they were to fill a crucial role on your production line or assume a managerial role in a retail space, you wanted them to contribute to your business, rather than damage it.
Unfortunately, not all new hires fit in at a company. Other times, workers who have been with your company for years burn out and no longer make the effort they once did. When someone has had mediocre job performance, attitude problems or terrible attendance, you may decide that you want to terminate them.
The steps below will reduce your chances of having legal or financial consequences for that decision.
Document the issue carefully
While you can theoretically fire workers at any time with or without a specific reason, you will have less chance of their bringing a successful claim in court when you have clear reasons for your decision to let them go.
Progressive discipline that includes detailed performance reviews showing a drop in overall job performance or repeated write-ups for tardiness or behavioral issues will help you justify a decision to terminate a worker.
Give them an opportunity to correct the issue
With the exception of cases where a worker has broken the law or overtly threatened others in the workplace, you may want to give them a chance to correct the issue. That is part of the reason why companies employ progressive discipline policies to warn workers that they are not meeting certain standards and to motivate them to change how they do their jobs.
Giving a worker feedback and encouraging them to correct the issue can help you defuse later claims that you discriminated against them.
Be judicious about when you have the conversation
Most human resources professionals will tell you that afternoon terminations are usually a better choice than morning firings. In fact, waiting until Friday afternoon so someone has a whole weekend to cool off before they take any other action is often a wise choice.
Beyond those general timing considerations, there are also employee-specific elements you should review. Are they halfway through a major project? Do they have access to certain documents that no one else does? Waiting until they complete a project and giving other people redundant authority and access prior to their termination will help you smooth the transition and reduce the chances of them damaging the company when they leave.
Understanding the right steps to take when making changes to your employment arrangements will help your business avoid expensive claims by former employees.