Is it Time to Fire an Employee?

The decision to let go of one of your employees is never going to be easy. There comes a time, however, when such a decision is necessary.

When this time comes, it's best to handle the matter as soon as possible rather than allowing a negative situation to continue.

There will be some situations in which immediately terminating an employee is the only correct thing to do. Some examples include illegal activity, sexual harassment of another employee and misrepresenting the business to vendors or clients.

Knowing When to Act

But how do you know that it is time to fire an employee rather than continue to work with them when the offenses are less serious?

Naturally, every situation is going to be unique, but here are a few questions to ask when trying to make that decision:

  • Have you counseled the employee about the behavior/performance in the past?
  • Is the employee disruptive to the workings in the office or to other employees?
  • Are the actions of the employee hindering the growth of the business or the performance and/or morale of other employees?
  • Do you think that counseling or additional training will help this employee?

Based on the answers to the above questions, you should be able to decide whether it is time to let them go. If so, be aware that they may file for unemployment benefits.

Keep Meticulous Records

That is why it is so important for you to keep detailed records of every meeting, counseling session and training that is related to the behavior for which he is being fired.

For example, if the employee is chronically late, you should keep documents of that in his file. Dates and times of lateness should be included as well as proof of any counseling sessions - signed by the employee - related to the lateness.

Such documentation will be necessary should you choose to oppose the payments of unemployment benefits.

Once you have made your decision, it's important to stick with it. You have to do what is best for your other employees - and your small business.