It’s Important to Have Steps in Place Before you Fire an Employee

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In the small-business environment, the business owner may also be the “HR manager”; in that, he or she is likely to be the person who must dismiss high-risk or medium-risk employees.

High-risk employees are those that must be leave the premises as soon as possible because of the severity of the infraction that led to termination. Before he or she is escorted through the door, the small-business owner or manager must create a termination notification that briefly describes why the employee is being terminated.

Business policies that are explained to all employees, even verbally, can protect most businesses from a termination “battle”; however, business owners must prove that their employees know those policies and the consequences.

A medium-risk employee is treated a bit differently, since he or she may have been disciplined previously and is being dismissed for continuing to violate that policy or rule. The employee must understand why he or she is being terminated, and it’s best to speak with him or her directly and not through a supervisor. Documenting the termination — when it occurs — is the best way to reduce the risk of being sued.

Business owners should keep in mind that there are many federal statues relating to age discrimination, disabilities, family and medical leave, etc. that could affect employment claims and liabilities.

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