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The Top 4 Don'ts When Firing an Employee

Firing an employee can be a stressful experience for both parties involved, not just the member of staff who is in the process of losing their job. No matter how well you have communicated any issues and problems to the employee in the past, and even if you’ve issued a number of warnings – the bottom line is, the vast majority of workers don’t believe that they’ll actually get fired. However, this is not always the case, and unfortunately no matter how well you get on with an employee personally, if they’re not performing their job well or commit an unforgiveable breach of the rules, firing them is sometimes inevitable. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you need to fire one of your members of staff, here’s what not to do.

Don’t Fire Them via Email/Phone

As a general rule of thumb, never fire an employee unless you’re meeting up with them face to face to do so. Don’t send an email, letter, or even call them to let them know that their services are no longer needed – this will do nothing but damage your reputation. The way in which you let an employee go is important, and they should be extended the courtesy and respect that you would give any other person, no matter the reason for firing them.

Don’t Fire Them without Warning

Every employee deserves a chance to improve their performance before they are fired, which is why in the majority of cases, a warning should be given before the employee is eventually fired. In the case of gross misconduct this may not be the case, however, it’s important that your employees are fully aware of which acts of gross misconduct will result in immediate dismissal. If you’re unsure whether or not your employee’s behaviour warrants immediate dismissal, you may wish to get legal advice

Don’t Let Them Believe the Decision isn’t Final

Because most employees convince themselves that they won’t be fired, it’s incredibly easy for an employee to believe that you might change your mind and take them back on, even after you’ve dismissed them. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that you make it absolutely clear that your decision to fire the employee is final. Yes, your employee is likely to be upset, but allowing them to be misled is an unnecessary cruelty.

Don’t Give Lengthy Reasons

If you’ve already given a warning and have discussed at length with your employee how they are failing to perform, repeating all this at the dismissal meeting is unnecessary and harsh. Instead, have a short, to-the-point list of reasons why you have come to the decision, and allow your employee to ask a few questions for their own peace of mind. You will want them to retain their dignity throughout the procedure, so be respectful and understanding of their situation.
Can you think of anything else that shouldn’t be done when firing an employee? Have you been fired in the past, and think your employer shouldn’t have done it the way they did? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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