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Some terminations go smoothly, some result in crying, arguments or worse. You, the employer hold the key to whether or not this inevitable process goes well or not. Your ability to manage a termination efficiently and trouble free begins long before you sit down with your employee to let them go. To protect yourself legally, and to ensure you can have peace of mind before, during and after you terminate someone, it’s prudent and necessary to cautiously navigate this process.

Here are 3 do’s and 5 don’ts when it comes to terminations.

3 Do’s Before a Termination

Be prepared – Make sure you have documented problems and shortcomings

Review history – Ensure there are no past employment or discrimination issues

Have a witness – To prevent hearsay, it’s best to have someone with you during the meeting

5 Don’ts During a Termination:

Keep your cool – Avoid allowing an already emotional situation to get heated. Don’t allow the employee to argue and carry on. If you’ve done your homework, there should be no argument.

Avoid surprises – Employees should never be completely surprised by a termination. If you’ve been giving them regular feedback and reviews, they should be aware of the situation.

Choose your words carefully – Employees who are terminated will remember every word you say. Best to keep is short, simple and avoid lengthy descriptions of their performance problems.

Keep emotions in check – Yes, we should all have compassion, but this is the time for limited compassion. Your feelings and emotions do not belong here, this is a business decision.

Keep quiet – Don’t discuss reasons or details of the termination with other employees. It’s enough to let them know they won’t be working with us anymore.

Terminations are challenging and fraught with potential liability concerns. Do your homework, take the precautionary steps ahead of time to be confident in your decision to terminate, and make the decision quickly before problems persist. Be a man/woman of few words and show some decorum, respect and dignity when you terminate. Do what you gotta do but do it wisely.

Written by Mike Hayden

Mike Hayden is with Infinium HR Group located at 29970 Technology Drive, Suite 220B in Murrieta. (951) 473-7272 –

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