Tips for Terminations

Conducting terminations is one of the toughest jobs for any business owner.  Before you sit down with the employee, make sure you have done everything necessary to have the meeting go as smooth as possible.


Before conducting a termination, ask yourself:


·       Was the employee clearly told that they needed to improve the behavior?  Were they given the time necessary to improve the behavior?

·       Was the employee told that failure to improve may result in termination?

·       Is there documentation on all of the activities leading up to the termination? 

·       Does your Employee Handbook outline that this action may result in termination?

·       Would any other employee be terminated for the same activities?

·       Is the termination being conducted in a timely manner, as to the final incident?

·       Will a final paycheck be ready in accordance with your State’s final pay rules?

·       Will the employee be surprised by the termination?


If the answer is “no” to any of the above questions, reconsider the fairness of the termination.


When conducting a termination meeting, be sure to:


·       Hold the meeting in a private area

       Be sure to avoid any public humiliation for the employee

       Be brief and to the point

       Don’t allow the discharge to turn into an argument

       Have an appropriate witness, if available

       Escort the employee off company property

       Don’t discuss the discharge with other employees

       Document with sign off if possible



Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 100 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.


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