There are times when an employer has the unenviable task of firing an employee. It is never easy to let someone go. Sometimes, the decision itself can be easy, but there are things to also consider. Other times, it can be harder. The thing is, there may be some legal implications involved when you fire someone, which is why it is not easy and requires planning and thought. Though it is a difficult situation, an employer would want the process to go smoothly. Sometimes, it can also help to seek the advice of an employment lawyer.
Here are some tips on what to do and think about when it comes to letting an employee go.
1. Consider The Reasons
An employer needs to think about what the reasons are for dismissing someone. If they happen to be falling behind as a result of performing their duties poorly, the employer has to think carefully about letting this employee go ‘for cause’. However, sometimes, an employee may be fired for a serious offence such as stealing from the company or if they showed aggression to someone and even lashed out physically. The employee can be fired immediately without getting any notice or severance. In the first example, an employer can give the employee written warnings regarding their poor performances.
2. Employment Contract
An employer should also check to see if there is a written contract and they should read it before doing anything. Depending on how well this contract was drafted, it could limit the employer’s liability for severance when it comes to dismissing someone. If there is no contract available, the employer may want to get the aid of an employment lawyer in regards to any severance that may be owed to the fired worker.
3. The Termination Letter
It is important to prepare a termination letter. A working notice of termination should always be in writing and it should never be based on anything that’s just verbal. The termination letter can outline the reasons for the dismissal and anything that is owed to the employee. At the same time, it can also outline whatever the employee may have to return to the company as well (company property).
4. Offering A Reference Letter
Even though you may be firing (or have already fired) an employee, consider giving the employee a reference letter. This will help the employee (or ex-employee) to find a new job. Doing this has a two-fold effect; it can help the employee find another job much quicker and at the same time, the chances of the employee seeking some kind of legal advice to take action against you are greatly diminished. Though it is a bad situation, it can turn out into a win-win one. The only time you may not want to consider offering a reference letter is if the dismissal is due to something that is totally unacceptable on the part of the employee, like punching a supervisor.
As an employer, dismissing an employee for whatever reason is not an everyday occurrence. If it was, then you would know what to do with your eyes closed. The safest thing to do is to have an employment lawyer give the proper advice so that everyone stays safe and that there will not be any negative repercussions as a result of a dismissal.