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How to Fire With Compassion and Class

Employment Termination: Immediate**

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Managers cite firing employees as the job they most hate to do. Sometimes, however, terminating a staff person’s employment is the best step to take for your organization. Sometimes terminating a person’s employment is the kindest action you can take for the person. In some circumstances, firing an employee is an immediate necessity for the safety and well-being of the rest of your employees.

Because employment termination can take many forms, depending on the circumstances, we’ll take a look at immediate termination for cause and termination for non-performance due to lack of productivity or a general mismatch of employee, job and company.

Immediate Employment Termination for Cause

Occasionally, situations arise for which you will want to terminate a person’s employment immediately. Make sure you have these listed in your employee handbook. These often include situations in which an employee:

  • threatens violence or commits a violent act,
  • brings a weapon to work,
  • views pornographic movies on work computers and on work time,
  • steals company property, and/or
  • commits similar offenses of a dire nature.

The best you can do, under such circumstance, is to follow this process to terminate an individual’s employment.

  • Ensure the employee is not a danger to himself or other employees. (If he appears to be, help other employees to safety and call law enforcement authorities and security personnel immediately.)


  • If the employee does not appear to be dangerous to himself or others, notify law enforcement authorities if an illegal act has taken place.


  • Utilize internal security personnel, if available.


  • Remain polite and respectful.


  • State the offense calmly and with a witness in the room.


  • Tell the employee his employment is terminated.


  • Obtain the return of all company property.


  • Allow the employee to pack personal items from his work station, if circumstances warrant.


  • Enable the employee to ask any questions about the end of employment.


  • Escort the former employee from the building with the understanding that if he returns he is trespassing.

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**Please Note: I make every effort to offer you common-sense, ethical management advice, but I am not an attorney and the articles on the site are not to be construed as legal advice. The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel.

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