The Proper Way to Fire an Employee [INFOGRAPHIC]

Nobody likes to fire somebody—and nobody likes being fired. But sometimes it has to be done. Holding onto a bad employee that’s disrupting the chemistry of your team is the worst mistake.

If you are considering firing one of your employees, it’s important you follow some tips so as to avoid burning bridges and dealing with costly potential lawsuits.

For starters, it’s important you check your past feedback. If you have given the employee positive feedback—especially recently—don’t fire him immediately. Instead of firing, consider giving a stern warning. Explain what the employee is doing wrong and provide 30 days to change for the better. Try to assist the employee by providing a list of behaviors you find acceptable. What can the person do to get back on track? Let the employee know termination of employment is a possibility.

If you must fire, do so early in the week—it gives your employee an opportunity to begin a job hunt. Never fire on a Friday, as it gives the employee time to stew. When you’re going to break the news, be sure to have a witness present in case the employee threatens retaliation. State that termination is “for cause,” but avoid going into details about the grounds for termination. Explain how much severance, if any, the employee is entitled to, and be sure to tell him what you’ll say should anyone call and ask for a job reference. Ask the employee to sign a release of liability and provide him with some incentive to do so.

It’s important not to let the employee linger—tell him to leave the business premises immediately and escort the employee to the door. Your business shouldn’t miss a beat the next day—reassign the terminated employee’s job duties promptly. Tell other employees that the terminated employee is no longer with the company and avoid going into details.

Don’t try fighting the terminated employee’s claim for unemployment benefits, as the matter could go to court—and the employee is likely to win.

Firing is stressful for everyone. Follow these tips to cover your bases.

Have you ever had to fire someone? What would you do differently in the future? Please share in the comments, and be sure to check out the infographic for more detailed tips.

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