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Readers Respond: What Do You Not Want to Do When You're Firing Employees?

Responses: 34


Firing employees is never a pleasant experience but there are actions you can take that minimize the pain - for you and for your organization, and for the fired employee, too. What have you found is best not to do when firing employees? Advice about what works well for you when firing employees, is welcome, too. See more reader responses. Share Your Experience

Terminated a month later?!

I was brought in the the office and told they ran out of hours and I would not be working until they figured it out (same thing was told to my coworker so I had no reason to not believe it). One month to that day I was told that I was being separated on my behalf but if the job ever opened back up I could reapply and not need an interview. 2 weeks later I got the notice of termination for not fulfilling job standards. I wasn't even there to fulfill them, the whole month I didn't have any hours. And they never said a word about me doing something incorrectly and I asked. Can they do that after a month?
—Guest Madatsj

Look in the mirror first!

Some of the replies to this post do indeed show some cruel behavior by managers. However, if the advice in these articles is being sought out by an employer/manager/supervisor, there is a very good chance that the employee being terminated has REPEATEDLY been counseled, warned, reprimanded, etc. If you only feel remorse or that you are being treated unfairly when you get called in for "the" meeting, then it is usually too little/too late. When your top tier field employees set the example for newer folks, their behavior can be a "cancer" to a small organization, if they are allowed to continue.
—Guest RUFngKidnMe

Don't be a Coward

The director of the non-profit I worked for for 2 years couldn't even SAY he was firing me. He called me in his office and thanked me for everything I had done. I had to ASK him if he was letting me go. Then his only response was to tell me to turn in my keys. He couldn't even give me the courtesy of the one word "yes". When I asked for a reason, he said "it's everything," and wouldn't say anymore. I still don't know why.
—Guest Stashi

After termination

Can an employer change the content of a termination letter once given to the employee at a later date? (They can but it's not a wise employment practice. If there were legal action and an employee's copy of the letter didn't match, the employer would have serious explaining to do. Plus, you should have signed off on the letter to indicate that you saw it.)
—Guest DeVaughn

Fired w/o notice

Showed up to work first day of the week and my login account was disabled. My supervisor told me that I needed to go to the back because our general manager wanted to see me. On the way to him I end up flanked by two other employees and herded into the conference room. Simply put I was told that by him that he'd decided it was time to end our professional relationship. When I asked what brought this about he stonewalled me and wouldn't give me an answer. I'd been written up 8 months prior and corrected the performance even though it was a bs disciplinary action. Since then I kept my head down and just did my job. The only plus side was that they offered me the option to resign. Worst of it is that I'm left without clarity and closure.
—Guest Sarah

Fired over phone

After working 12 hour days, and mandatory Saturdays. And allowing them to call me Vice President of Sales to avoid overtime, I was fired over the phone on Memorial Day weekend when I took my first day off with my company after working for them 7 months. They also failed to pay me for approx 7 million in revenue that I had in my pipeline when they let me go due to a workforce reduction..
—Guest Mark

Impossible spot

I have been trying to term an employee for 8 months . He does not come into work and the last time anyone has spoken to him was 2 months ago. He communicates through text. HR department is no help. I have set up several meetings along with my superiors also have attempted, but no show. He is always one step ahead. Now he was caught stealing from the company, and they have proof, but we still can't get ahold of him. Have sent letter to meet but he has moved but he is still on payroll. It is the craziest situation I have ever encountered. The company is so worried about getting sued that they would rather keep paying him then risk any legal issues. So, until he actually comes into the office, they are just going to keep paying him. I can't fill his position until he is actually termed. I found out he no longer even lives in the state and they still won't fire. Pathetic. (It is pathetic. They need to talk to an attorney which would probably be cheaper than paying him. Also, your handbook needs a job abanonment clause. http://humanresources.about.com/od/glossaryj/g/job-abandonment.htm)
—Guest jim


A Company that I worked with doing some Consulting work for a little while, would fire people by removing their Password from their Computer System. When they could not login in the morning, they had to go to their Supervisor to find out why. At that time they were met with a Security Guard who handed them an empty box. Very Snakey. No respect given to the departing employee at all.
—Guest Jon

I have an idea

It's easy. Don't treat people like commodities. This article disgusts me. It makes people out to be like objects. I swear HR is for people without souls.
—Guest tim

Don't Ever Assume

I was only fired once ever in my working career, and it was because my employer assumed I was making a personal call on company time. I telecommuted, so they could have called me. Instead, I was locked out of systems. I asked my supervisor why I was locked out, and she had ample opportunity right there to conference with me about my termination. Instead, she had HR send me an email simply telling me that I had been let go. I didn't find out what I had been accused of for three days after my last day! When I found out, I blew up at HR over the phone because what caused my firing never happened. What actually happened was I went on break and left my mic live, and the monitoring supervisor (who could hear me but not see me) didn't know I was on break and that I had asked a person in the same room a question. She thought I was taking a personal call, which I couldn't understand as that would have been highly uncharacteristic of me. My performance scores were 100%.
—Guest KR

Giving An Opinion On Company Policy

I was a relatively new hire and terminated over the phone by a demonstration company due to the fact I took issue with a "no tolerance" policy on angry behaviors. I gave my opinion about having a more "open door" policy on conflict resolution but added I would abide by their policy. I was then called that day, berated by one of the founders of the demo company and immediately fired. Bad call on the woman's part to do that. I am now in the process of crafting an official complaint and seeking counsel for wrongful termination and lost wages.
—Guest CFarmer

Underperforming Employee Seeks a New Job

An employee emailed me to let me know that she is seeking a new job opportunity and that she would like me to give a positive reference for her. She says in her email, "the hours are really hard and I should have been told the hours during the interview not after I started. I assumed since it was a billing position it was either 8-4 or 9-5. I hope you understand." The hours were discussed at hiring and were written up for her that she needed to do 1 late night which she agreed to. We do not want to pay her unemployment benefits as her job performance barely met requirements for her position. As she told us that she is looking for a new job, we want to look for a replacement asap. As we would like to terminate her now knowing that she is not committed to her present job, what are our legal options ? Can we reduce her hours to part-time if we find a person we would like to hire? Is her email to me considered a resignation notice even though she would like to continue until she finds a job?
—Guest Renee R.

Past reviews

Not so much a response but a question. I know someone who worked for years at a well known Company. Now under a new owner, by the way. Recently, my friend got a promotion and was switched to salary. I believe it's been about 6 months since. Now, however, she is being let go, the company is using an old review about being tardy. Is this normal practice? She has seen them use this tactic with other employees since the new owner took over. It seems ethically wrong to me.
—Guest curious

Sometimes it is necessary

Good advice. I have been fired and while I felt that the reason for the termination was unjust and political, I did appreciate the professional and confidential manner that the company took in terminating me. I have since been on the other side and while I do not like firing someone, you have to make decisions as a boss that are best for the company and the remaining employees rather than babying one employee whose performance is not improving. I prefer to hold the termination meeting in the am but pay the employee for the full day.
—Guest Guest

They have been unfair with me for years

1. Went through harassment of me for 3 months. 2. She said, you're done, we are firing you in front of 2 managers 3 . I asked where is my release form? She said you do not sign anything; we will send you the form tomorrow in the mail.
—Guest toudie

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What Do You Not Want to Do When You're Firing Employees?

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