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Readers Respond: What Is the Best Day to Fire an Employee and Why?

Responses: 51


Some of the details employers consider when firing an employee have changed in recent years due to the proliferation of online resources for job search. Employers believed that it was unkind to fire an employee on Friday, for one, because the former employee would be stuck all weekend with little to do to launch a job search. The times they are a’changing, but some things never change. It’s still important to develop a solid case for firing an employee. It's still important to effectively communicate performance issues. Does the day matter? What day is the best day to fire an employee? Why? See More Reader Responses.

Friday. It's for safety.

The best day to fire is Friday at the end of the day. It should be a corporate policy at every company. It is statistically shown that an emotional or unstable employee is least likely to seek revenge if it happens on a Friday. Also important is to avoid any sort of humiliation when firing an employee. Don't do it publicly in front of the person's peers. Again, this is for safety.
—Guest security researcher

Dont be in a Hurry!

Be calm, be transparent, explain your reasons in a professional way. This is not the time to lecture the terminated employee, encourage him / her. This is not the end of the world to him / her. Tell them what has happened is not the end of his life, but just a bend. Listen to the employee carefully and thank him / her. This is not the time to tell the employee you have been useless, you ought to have been gone a long time ago. You have been a parasite to the organization.
—Guest jerry

Make Up Your Mind and Just Do It

The best day to terminate employment would be the first day after you as an employer decide to terminate employment. Collect your thoughts, review the documentation, sleep on it, then get up and do the task at hand that is best for your business.
—Guest Adam

I agree

With earlier in the week, you can job search, file for unemployment etc.
—Guest Jackee

Best Day For Employment Termination

The individual should be encouraged to begin the job search immediately and begin making personal and professional contacts during the first day. You cannot do that at the end of a work day or on a weekend. Give them contact info of area employment agencies and staff. The former employee should be encouraged to continue with the same work day schedule each week day, however, now the focus is finding the next job. Maintaining the daily schedule/discipline supports positive behavior focus on making the best of a bad situation. Also, would it hurt to provide instructions on how to apply for unemployment? They will apply anyhow and you could provide a little help to get started (presuming they qualify for UC). Basic outplacement support from an agency or nearby college placement office that caters to adults can be provided at a reasonably low cost. Resume writing, practice interviewing, and other assessments and resources are available for a relatively low cost. The terminated employee should be encouraged to participate in the outplacement by providing a financial incentive for reimbursement of receipts for approved services up to a certain dollar amount if submitted within the first thirty days. Placing a time limit on the outplacement services reimbursement initiates positive action for the former employee. So back to Tuesday morning. It works best because people are energized, even terminated employees with a whole day before them, to get something accomplished. Treating people in respectful manner and providing some incentives and structure for the disillusioned former employee will help the person get going and get over that initial hurdle of telling others what happened. Perhaps one day your actions will even lead to the former employee recommending your company as a good place to work because of the respectful way the termination process was handled.
—Guest John

Best Day For Employment Termination

Part 1 of 4 Always treat the outgoing employee with respect. Whatever the reason for the termination, advance notice should always have been communicated and repeated so there is no shock in the final hour. If the termination can be scheduled, Tuesday is the best day, and in the morning. Tuesday is the most productive day of the week for nearly everyone. Friday is bad because the former employee has all weekend to share her or his thoughts with everyone and if there is a dependency issue, all weekend to create more havoc in her or his life, and those nearby. Monday is bad because humans do not like Mondays in general. Wednesday and Thursday are neutral days. The real magic happens when the former employer provides some incentives to help the outgoing employee get started.
—Guest John

Earlier in the week, and be prepared

Whenever possible, I prefer to conduct a separation earlier in the week. This gives the employee more time to contact services. I also prefer earlier in the day, with the thought that it feels more like a slap in the face if at the end of a long day (I speak from my own experience here). Preparation is crucial. As the HR Manager, I insist that the employee's manager is with me and is the one who delivers the news face-to-face. One or two sentences is enough. After, the manager leaves the room to collect personal belongings and I then explain to the employee what has happened and what briefly happens from this point on: separation payment, benefits, official documents and so on. Unless it's gross misconduct, I invite them to call me back in a few days if they have questions. This removes the pressure to get all answers immediately. About 1 in 5 call back. It's OK to be sorry it didn't work out and to say so. Be polite, respectful, but don't apologize for the termination itself.
—Guest Mike in Vancouver

Employee Assistance

I have been fortunate to have worked with excellent resources. Years ago, an Employee Assistant manager shared the challenges of trying to set up a weekend appointment with an insurance company and counselor. Wanting to ensure the individual had the best resources available to them to productively work through this life changing experience, I made sure terminations were on any day other than Friday.
—Guest Rue Flowers

Do it right, do it now!

I agree with Horse with No Name and others. The process should be transparent; the employee should understand the reasons; and it should be done as soon as the decision is made. Australia has very clear cut legislation that outlines these principles, including natural justice and procedural fairness. As Susan said - this should never be a surprise, employer should consult with employees regarding their concerns, the employees should have the opportunity to respond, and be aware of possible decisions affecting their employment. I have been through redundancies and terminations previously and the thing that hurt most was that they knew what they were going to do and waited until the end of the day so they didn't have to face me afterwards. Mind you, I appreciated not having to face them either. Packing your things and walking out of a packed office with everyone looking at you questioningly is not the highlight of anyone's career. I didn't mind the Friday, as I had the weekend to process.
—Guest Heidi

When To Fire an Employee

Unfortunately, I believe that Friday truly is the better of all days - one, you have an opportunity to prepare your resume for a search beginning on Monday, and two, you don't have to face some people as a lot of people take Fridays off or leave early. Although, I have to agree with some of your readers that there really is no better day but rather a better way!
—Guest Karen

When to Fire an Employee... Friday?

The Friday may prove more appropriate because provided that the employee works Monday to Friday, it is more likely to facilitate the stages an employee will possibly go through - anger / shock/ disappointment, then acceptance, then resilience to begin his / her job search in the upcoming week. If the person works Sunday through Saturday, no day is really convenient, if it needs to be done, it just has to be done on any given day. I also agree that the employee should have an idea what is coming, otherwise his / her severance can end up in an explosive situation.
—Guest Candidly

Best day to fire an employee

There is no better day to fire an employee, there can only be a better way of doing it. Even if it was to be done on Friday in an hectic manner it still remains worse. Finding a suitable means of convincing the empoyee, not about the bad things, but the decision taken and even wish them well and encourage them that they will find a better paying job than their fomer.
—Guest Aaron

Best Day to FIre

In my career, I've only fired employees for cause -- not downsizing or something similar. In those cases, I've preferred to do the termination on a Friday, close to the end of the day. I do this so that I can preserve the employee's dignity and allow them to pack up their desk/return company equipment without the prying eyes of their colleagues there. During the termination meeting, in which I'm generally not the supervisor, I always fully explain the reasons for the termination (sometimes it's easy, for example with theft, but oftentimes it's more difficult, performance issues, etc.). In any case, I make sure the supervisor has fully documented the termination issues and counseled the employee (if appropriate). I am respectful, even when the employee often is not. I always make sure a security officer escorts them back to their desk and takes them to the Front Door. In my organization, there is also an appeals process, which the employee is informed about in writing.
—Guest Mackie

Termination felt like hell!

After 5 years, with no warning, I was terminated. Enrollment increased 65 percent under my leadership as Director for a BSW program in Boston Massachusetts. Their reasons: insufficient publications, poor supervision of a per course staff (person was sick, I dealt with the situation compassionately, taught the course and adjusted the contract, hired another person for the 2nd semester); the students complained about my lack of support. The student evaluations were real for the students, the facts were inaccurate. I have made adjustments since this happened, however, in my opinion, felt discouraged, annoyed about the horrible way the matter was handled. They offered me funds as long as I signed an agreement stating that I resigned. I refused to sign their agreement.
—Guest SeLatifee

Best Day to Fire?

People arguing for a Friday firing have to consider a few things. 1) Unemployment offices and other support agencies are not generally open on the weekends. When you fire on Friday you push off the person's ability to move on (possibly stoking their fire more!). 2) What signal are you sending if you knew you wanted to fire this person all week and you waited until Friday? "We don't think you are good enough to work here, but that you for working here for the ENTIRE WEEK!" Best practice would be to fire first thing in the morning on the earliest possible day. I go for Mondays (or first day of the work week). And don't fire at the end of the day ("Thanks for the full day of work, now go home and never come back!")
—Guest Brad
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