Things Not To Do Or Say When You Fire Someone

There is  a difference between a disciplinary interview and a termination meeting.   Disciplinary meetings are about second chances and action plans.  Termination meetings are about neither.

1. Never reconsider in a termination meeting.  Firing is always a last resort.  Hopefully, you have already given warnings and second chances.  Some employees will try to negotiate or manipulate.  If you have made up your mind to let someone go…just do it.

2. Never fire someone when you are angry.  There is too much risk you may say or do something that you will regret.  If it is so bad it must be done immediately send the person home and calm down and deal with it the next day.

3. Never fire a person of the opposite sex without a witness in the room.

4. Funeral Directors are nice people.  You will want to sympathize…don’t.   Be clear, concise and precise.   Be respectful.  Do not belittle or demean.  Regardless of what happens stick to your resolve.  This is one meeting that should last no more than 5 minutes and preferably only 2.

5. Take responsibility.  Don’t say we, say “I”.

6. Unless you think it is a danger to your firm, give the person some time to collect their things.  I suggest you say something like:  “Why don’t you go get your things and I will meet you back here in ten minutes.”   Do Not Allow Unlimited Time.

7.  If the person becomes emotional give them a few minutes to collect themselves.  If they are unable to do so, then suggest they go home and set a specific time to meet them so they can gather their personal items.

8. ONE LAST THING:  ALWAYS DISCUSS TERMINATION WITH A LAWYER BEFORE PROCEEDING.  If you are in the warning phase have an attorney review your written warnings in advance.


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