How To Fire An Employee – Part II

Posted · Add Comment
Written by

Last week I talked about how to terminate an employee in my blog How To Fire An Employee.  This week, I want to cover the logistical steps to take after you have had the termination conversation with the employee.
Once you have told the employee they are being terminated and you have gone through the final check, what will happen with their benefits, etc., it is time to assist the employee in collecting their belongings and exiting your business.  Tell the employee it is company policy to escort them to their work area to gather their personal items and then off the premises.  Explain this is just the policy so it does not seem you have any particular concern about their actions.  It is a good idea to have a box available for the employee to use as they clean out their personal items from their desk or locker.  Escort the employee to their work area and oversee the removal of personal items and ensure they do not access computer files or take company property.  Retrieve all issued company property from the employee including the employee ID and any keys or key cards that give them access to your business.  Once they have returned the company property and collected their belongings, walk with them to their car, helping carry their items if necessary.  Observe them leaving the parking lot.  Some companies like to conduct terminations at the end of the day so there are few employees around when the terminated employee cleans out their desk and leaves the premises.  Once the termination is complete, write a memo to the file outlining the termination meeting, what they said, that they cleaned out their belongings, and that they left the premises without incident.  Make sure that the former employee does not have access to the computer systems or the premises once they have been terminated.
The next step is communicating to the existing employees that the employee you terminated is no longer with your business.  Do not say they were fired or go into any details about their performance.  You are bound by Privacy laws that protect the employee.  Assign the terminated employee’s work to other employees and give the remaining employees a word track to use when they receive calls or requests to talk to the former employee.  If employees are nervous about the employee not being there and are asking about the circumstances, tell them you will talk to them privately.  Explain that you are not going to share information about another employee with them, just as you would not share information about them with another employee.  Tell them you are happy to discuss their performance, if they are worried about their future with the company.
Terminations are a high risk for your company and should be handled very carefully.  It is advisable to discuss any terminations with an employment attorney or HR consultant prior to meeting with the employee.