“Happy Thanksgiving and don’t bother coming back” is not the way to let an employee go. Instead of worrying about how to carve the turkey, they will spend the holiday worrying if they can afford a turkey at all.
Timing is crucial when you need to sever someone’s contract. However much you dislike the person or however inept you consider them, they are still humans with feelings and needs. If you trample over these or infringe their legal rights, you risk them returning to sue you.
Firing an employee requires you to follow the rules
It may be your company, but that does not mean you can do what you want. If you breach state or federal employment laws, you could face serious consequences. Here are some things to look at:
- Check your contracts: Individual contracts can have clauses you might not remember or might not know about if someone else wrote them. Check you comply with all promises made.
- Check you have proof of a reason: If you are letting someone go because of something they did or did not do, make sure you have evidence to back you up. Do not rely on someone’s word as there are often personal factors involved that you do not know.
- Consider security: If the employee has access to intellectual property that you did not protect via their employment contract, you may be able to put it in the severance agreement. Remember, if you want a court to uphold it, you will need to offer the employee something extra in return for their silence.
- Consider the effect on your other staff: If you mistreat someone when firing them, other employees will lower their opinion of you and the company. They will reason that you could also treat them that way.
When you fire an employee, you need to end the relationship promptly and efficiently so that they and your company can move on. If you act hastily, without performing the necessary checks, getting free from them could take much longer.