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Firing an employee with tact

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2014 | Employment Litigation |

Employers in Michigan who are facing the unpleasant task of firing one of their employees may be able to make the experience go more smoothly by keeping some things in mind. First, an employer should usually provide an employee with sufficient warning before firing them. Except in rare cases where the employee did something extremely deplorable, an employer should provide an employee with multiple opportunities to improve their work performance.

While giving an employee a chance to avoid termination, the employer should carefully document each step of the process. If the employee cannot rise to the occasion, the employer should fire them in person with a second employee serving as a witness. In addition to safeguarding the employer against a wrongful discharge claim, a witness may be able to help the employer when words fail them.

As long as the employer has documented their employee’s work performance, there is no need to offer a lengthy explanation for a firing. A firing should be brief and straightforward so that the employee is under no impression that they can somehow affect the decision. Although employees will usually become upset, an employer should try to end the termination meeting on a high note. An employer may be able to do this by explaining how to collect unemployment benefits or offering a suggestion about a field in which the ex-employee might excel.

If a firing is not handled correctly, employers could end up putting themselves at risk for a discrimination or wrongful discharge lawsuit. An attorney may be able to help an employer avoid these outcomes by developing a transparent system for handling work performance issues and documenting it in an employee handbook.

Source: About Money, “Top 10 Don’ts When You Fire an Employee“, Susan M. Heathfield, November 23, 2014


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