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EMPLOYEE TERMINATIONS: A PRACTICAL CHECKLIST

Terminating an employee is rarely, if ever, a comfortable process. Personal feelings - not to mention the concerns relative to potential legal ramifications of a termination -  often cause employers to retain an employee who should otherwise be terminated. The following guidelines include several of the most important practical tips to assist employers in the termination process and to help ensure that the employer is protected.

  • Document the details and events surrounding the termination. This documentation may prove invaluable once memories fade. Institute or follow a strict performance review policy. Performance reviews should be conducted at least annually, and the review should contain fair and accurate information relative to the employee’s performance.
  • Have clear, concise policies which are consistently followed and applied.
  • Review and understand any employment agreement or other contract between the employer and employee, and ensure that termination will not violate any contractual terms.
  • Be prepared, respectful, and professional. Although the professional relationship with the employee failed, treat the employee as you would like to be treated. Provide the employee with the necessary information and maintain a respectful demeanor with the employee.
  • If feasible, arrange for a human resources representative to be present for the termination. The attendance of this representative provides support for the company, and the representative can provide post-termination benefits information to the employee.
  • Consult with your attorney. An employer’s right to terminate an at-will employee is not absolutely unrestricted.

In general, the best strategy relative to a termination is adequate preparation beforehand, including knowledge of both the employer’s and employee’s rights. To that end, among the services that McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC provides to our business clients is training for the employer’s HR staff, management staff, and owners. Our attorneys regularly present seminars to ensure our clients stay up-to-date on law governing the employer-employee relationship.

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