How to Fire an Employee the Right Way

Firing employees in New JerseyIt’s no secret that firing employees is often the least favorite part of being the boss, but sometimes it just has to be done. It is crucially important that you know how to fire an employee in the correct way, in order to prevent lawsuits or any other future incidents. So, what are the most common mistakes, and how do you avoid them?

What is the Best Way to Terminate an Employee?

  • Employment Contracts – One of the more popular mistakes comes about when an employer violates the employment contract. Not all employers choose to give their workers a contract, but if you do, make sure that if you fire an employee, you aren’t going against any parameters laid out in the document. Poorly constructed contracts also allow for a lot of interpretation, which may open you up to legal recourse as well.
  • Provide Warning – Don’t surprise someone when they arrive at work with a pink slip. If an employee’s performance is low, try giving them a certain time frame to increase productivity, and if they still fail to make the grade, then you can let them go.
  • Quick and Clean – Like ripping off a Band-aid, it’s best to be very brief and clear. Don’t try to sugarcoat it, or beat around the bush. Something along the lines of “It’s not working out. Your employment here is being terminated” works just fine.
  • Private Area – Don’t fire an employee out in the open surrounded by others. Instead, set up a meeting in your office and close the blinds.
  • Have a Witness – Have one witness, not a room full of them. Invite the employee’s immediate supervisor or an HR representative to the meeting in case the employee becomes upset or makes threats.
  • Monday Morning – Never fire an employee on a Friday. Firing an employee on Friday means that they will likely be stewing at home for the weekend. Do it Monday morning so that they can immediately transition from employee to seeking employment, a task usually done during the week.
  • Golden Rule – “Do unto your employees as you would have them do unto you.” The idea here is that if you treat your employees with the same respect you would want to be treated with if the tables were turned, you can usually avoid most problems.

Garland & Mason, L.L.C. – New Jersey business lawyers


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