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Employment Law Blog

Friday, January 30, 2009

It’s A Dirty Job…...

We’ve all had the unenviable task of doing it.  We’ve all had to go ahead and bite the bullet and “get ‘er done”.  We’ve probably all had to take a moment to ourselves to regain our composure after we’re done doing it.  But is there ever a GOOD way of making it happen?  Is there a more efficient way of doing it while decreasing the chance of drama? 

What am I talking about, you ask?

TERMINATIONS!!!!  ***Que the high-pitched screams of horror***

It’s almost natural for a person to want to defend himself when he is confronted with some type of misconduct that causes for his employment to be terminated.  Especially when the misconduct is not “gross” in nature (assault, theft, violence, work-refusal, etc.).  So do you allow for the employee to state his case even when you know that the decision is final?  If so, how long do you allow for it to happen without it turning into a remake of “The Great Debators”? 

One thing I was taught by my old boss (I like to refer to her as the Yoda of HR) was that if you find that it’s been over 5 mins and you are STILL TALKING during a termination, you probably are going to end up saying something that you will regret (aka something that the termed employee can use against the company to dispute the termination).  You know, something like “I’m so sorry” or “I wish this didn’t happen to you” or “I wish it was someone other than you”.  So as a rule, it’s best to keep things within a 5 minute time limit in order to void out any opportunity for something out of line being said.

So with all of that said, how do you balance keeping things short and sweet while also making sure that the termed employee doesn’t feel like the company poured salt into his wound by treating him like a total stranger who hasn’t been working for the company for “umpteen” years?

So please do me a favor and let me know some of your experiences when it came to terminating an employee?  Is there a GOOD way to do it?  What kinds of methods have you used and how well did they work (or not work)?

Once again….....


Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 01/30 at 04:36 PM
Employment Law • • Member Discussion
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