This is a touchy subject guys . . . so stick with me. To terminate and employee is never easy, but when done incorrectly they can become your worst nightmare.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), I work both sides of the fence. I frequently work with clients who are in a bad situation at work with their boss and they've been 'written up'. I walk them through all the scenarios and help them act accordingly. Most of the time, they keep their position.
I also work with clients who own a company (or are a CEO of an organization) and they need to fire someone for cause.
I always advise my clients to speak with an attorney. Especially if you're about to terminate an employee. Because I've seen it all and it ABSOLUTELY can become your WORST NIGHTMARE.
Here are some areas to think about and work with your attorney:
You need to have a broad understanding of the laws affecting terminations — especially the rights of whistle-blowers, the regulations prohibiting discrimination and retaliation, and the laws the can circumvent at-will employment. This is all critical information and you can't leave it to educated guesses — you need to hire the correct resource who has handled this type of situation.
You frequently have to review the benefits of a sound performance management system. If you don't have one in place — GET ONE. Many services, like ADP, can help you in this respect. You have to proactively provide notice of performance deficiencies, understand how to reverse past inaccurate reviews, and determine when you should skip performance management and move directly to termination. Knowledge and resources can help you step lightly and not make a mistake.
You and your management team need to understand how to lawfully reach a termination decision and how to properly document that decision. You have to be directed and/or learn how conduct a termination meeting, prepare for and effectively deal with a volatile employee, determine when severance is appropriate, and determine when to offer a resignation option. Local, state, and federal laws come into play and you have to have the right people in place to ensure you make the correct decisions.
Finally, how do you handle communication after the person has left? How do you communicate the termination to the rest of the team/company without invading on the employee’s privacy? What is the appropriate response to prospective employer inquiries to avoid triggering claims for defamation?
Candidly, every one of these points is a minefield and you need to step very carefully. Only hiring key resources to help map each step will provide successful business continuity and your ability to sleep at night.
If you're looking for a good resource to help — I can recommend a number of services to have a conversation about termination. Just ask.
Extra Credit - Here's a great article from one of my 'great resources' . . . Isaiah Cooper - ENJOY!