Employers do not need a reason to terminate an employee in an at-will employment state like Ohio. They can fire employees at will. However, as an employer, you should know how to appropriately terminate an employee so they cannot make unreasonable claims against you. A disgruntled employee may even sue you for wrongful termination if they adamantly believe you violated their federal employment rights. Below are recommendations you should consider for when you decide to fire an employee.
Have a professional yet empathetic tone
Letting someone go can be challenging, even for the employer. Your employee must know and feel that your decision to terminate them was a business decision, not a personal one. Try to be as straightforward as possible so you do not prolong the uncomfortable conversation. If your employee becomes emotional or angry, do not engage. Keep the situation amicable and approach it in a manner that will help the employee move on and move forward without bad blood.
Establish termination guidelines
Regardless of the size of your company, you should have a set of established termination guidelines and company policy. If your employee retaliates or questions your intentions, you can always use your policy to support your actions and decision.
Review and record employee performance
If an employee pursues a civil lawsuit against you for wrongful termination, you must have evidence to dispute their claims. As the employer, you have an obligation to maintain records of an employee’s attendance and overall job performance. By keeping a detailed log of their tardiness, absences, delinquency and poor work quality, you will have evidence to solidify your stance.
After giving them the bad news, listen to what your employee has to say. Respond only with essential and work-related answers. You already gave them a chance to work for you. You should not have to tolerate underperformance and poor work ethic.