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

Responses: 24


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.


I worked 2 yrs as 1099 contractor (yet had set hours and was told what to do and how) for a lawyer. Loved him and was fiercely loyal. After an error I was fired by email. I was known for answering emails on off hours and having a great client repor. That morning I received an email stating my eportal and email password had changed. This started my text inquiries to him " did you change passwords?". ..etc. next thing I know my stuff is boxed up FOR me and upon arrival to work I am physically blocked from my desk. I have never been so humiliated in my life. He was my friend and my confidant. I would have done anything for him and glorified him to everyone! Im a mother, and grandmother and a good person. And left feeling so betrayed and hurt. Dont do this to people who have been there for you and have been good honest workers. If you wan to fire somebody, that is your right. But give people a chance to leave with dignity and respect.

Fired and blackballed

The circumstances in which I was fired were, for the most part, justified. I had been employed for 8 months. In the first 3 months, I slept in due to a power outage and missed a couple hours of work. Then about 7 months in, I came down with a nasty flu and was out for most of a week, after which I returned with a doctor's note as requested. A couple weeks later, I overslept right through my alarm clock, an honest mistake. At the end of the Friday of that week, I was told I was being let go. Other than being late 2 times, I was, to my knowledge, a completely exemplary employee. Here's where the problem resides. This company either owns or is in business with just about every company in the city (a major city, 400k+ population). I was blackballed by this company, effectively forcing me to relocate. I did not find another job in my field for about 7 years because of this.
—Guest KCDST

Got fired

I started my first job after graduation in the last three weeks and I got fired by my employer, which was unacceptable, I was hired by the agency as a temp staff and knew that I don't have right to complain. I did make mistakes first week which was normal for a new employee and my training was less than two hours. I was sad when I was informed by the line manager but am happy now and this was a good lesson for me. I won't sell myself cheaply again.
—Guest Sally


I worked here for two years. I contributed so much. I was called at home after working a full day (in which I got off an hour and a half late). The manager called me an hour later, "It's best if you don't come back, I tried to fight for you, i admire your loyalty and dedication to (here), you will flourish at another place, I won't hinder you from getting another job--I'll even give you a great reference. Should the practice expand, there MAY be a position for you down the line, I'm sorry". She couldn't even tell me why and she couldn't even say the words 'fired' or 'let go' even after I asked. I felt horrible and midsized because I dedicated everything I had to that place. I even turned down other job offers to stay there.
—Guest ImPeached

Always give warning. They may work.

At the end of a working day when I was working late (I usually did) I was asked to go to the company's partner office with only the operation manager (no witnesses). She gave me a termination letter and told me I was being let go. When I asked why, she said "You are not the right fit." When I asked for more clarity, I was told "You make too many mistakes." Again I asked why was it never brought to my attention and she insisted that she did (which was not true). A month earlier everyone in the office had their semi-annual review in which they gave me a very good review and only told me to spell check my emails. They eventually didn't tell me why and I was left very puzzled and extremely traumatized with no income to seek a counsellor. I still have nightmares that my pararets are dead or I have lost my home (I rent) and everything is beyond my control. That job gap in your resume (and the depression it brings) really makes it hard to find another job.
—Guest Trying to forget

Good experienced older worker

I got myself some casual work early this year and knowing the book trade at university slows down from past experience, I was just not called in. After 8 weeks and with some super due I called to see if I was wanted again - just to know would have been civil, but the manager could or would not commit one way or another yet other people in the shop said they had been busy and I know I was a better than average casual, but I am always well presented and still attractive at my age - late 60's am good with customers so I'm curious as to whether or not jealousy is a factor in some cases.
—Guest guest bookworm

Fired before I even got started!

I went to an interview and got hired. I was told to start the next Tuesday. I went in on Thursday to get my uniform and manager was not there. I went in on Monday, the day before I was to start, and I was told that I was supposed to start last Friday and since I did not show up then, they told me not to come back. Some people that are managers are truly heartless.
—Guest Marci

How to handle employees in workplace

If there is a gap between the current status of the employee's skill, as a manager, you have to give him a short orientation and training about the current situation.
—Guest begna bekele

Political firing

HR does not understand the first thing about company politics. Someone needs to stop the insanity with employment-at-will garbage that basically gives private employers the right to break the law with things they say and do. I had an owner say to my management team that they are to go home and f@^% there wives and come back and work 110 percent and then do it all over again. Then be allowed to slander and make up lies at will. When will someone step up and stop this basic violation of our constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness and all men are created equal then allow these kinds of injustices to exist with no real recourse to stand up for your rights. I was told I had a job for life, said to me with witnesses present, but if it got to court the statement would be dismissed. Well the kicker is after 27 years of devotion to a company, they did what every selfish owner eventually does when they reach retirement age themselves, they get rid of all the high salaries.
—Guest rickz

Here Is How to "Pay Back" HR Devils

When you get hired, make sure to get a copy of your job description on day one. Keep a dang job journal, people - write down everything that happens each day at work, who was there, what was said etc. Keep detailed track of each time you're late so it can't be used against you later. DO EVERYTHING IN WRITING! Whether it is to be to your supervisor, or anyone higher than that. Take detailed photos of your entire work environment, if it's labor. If they change the job description and give you new copies, SAVE the old ones. If you have cause to possibly sue, do not bother to count on the state agency for an investigation that involves your best interests. Let me explain why. All the allegations you make when you file a complaint, as with Department of Fair Employment and Housing in CA., are investigated by that state's department and all it really does is prepare the company you work for by providing them with all the details of your attack plan. Most states will give you the right to sue letter up front.
—Guest Hot Sauce

This article SUCKS

All you HR people who write these BS heartless articles... I really hope someday you get fired over BS and end up in the unemployment line... a taste of your own poison when you pull power trips on good employees and ruin careers. This advice is so cold it's almost narcissistic! Is this why HR usually doesn't work on location? To avoid the "Gone Postal" scenario?
—Guest Hot Sauce

Human resources are anything but human.

It takes a special "kind" of person to be an HR... a person who lacks empathy and social skills. Even the title suggests employees are just disposable "resources". I've met a lot of HRs, mostly women and every one has this superior power trip attitude, even outside of work. (I have a relative who is a district HR for a dollar store company - total B). HR people are your worst enemy, don't forget that!
—Guest Hot Sauce


I worked as a temporary employee for a total of 8 days for a health care company and the training was not the best. It was the supervisor that was the problem. If she had a question about my job performance she would talk out loud so all of the other employees would hear her talking to me in a very rude manner when I could not grasp on to the job as quickly as she thought I should. I was nervous and could not concentrate on the project that i was doing so I was fired after 8 days on the job which I think is very little time for training.
—Guest Mary James

No Class and Cowards

I was terminated over the phone while attending the funeral of a loved one out of state, for a reason that I haven't "met their expectations." Shame on them. They definitely have no class.
—Guest imbetteroff

Terrible Advice!

Don't offer them to quit instead of participating in disciplinary action. A court would see that as termination on your part because you essentially communicated that the employee was going to be fired in the future, or they could quit there. You'd lose that case in court and you'd be sued for at least their severance pay, possibly plus damages.
—Guest BC B
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