Recently I was approached by one of our partners with a project that he needed done for a client of his. The client, a small employer with fewer than 20 staff, needed to let go of one of their managers. With no human resources staff, the client wanted to make sure that they followed a strong protocol that reduced their risk, yet treated the employee in the best way possible. They asked for our help to, in effect, give them termination guidelines. It occurred to me that these guidelines might also benefit many of our clients who are small business owners. Here are some things to consider prior to meeting with the employee:
- Is the employee aware that there is an issue (performance based or other)?
- Is there documentation in support of your action?
- Have you considered the legal aspect of your action? For instance, you cannot terminate an employee because of their – Age, race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, retaliation or pregnancy.
- Be aware of the many laws that protect employees.
- Have you considered a Separation and Release Agreement?
- What about Visa issues for foreign employees?
- Are you even properly prepared to have a termination meeting and do you know all that it might entail?
- Are you prepared for the post-termination meeting to discuss the employee’s rights under COBRA or the FMLA (if applicable)?
Terminating an employee is a very difficult process for all parties involved. Making sure that you are doing it properly can reduce an employer’s risk by taking all factors into consideration, and can also save the employer dollars and reputation while sending the employee away with dignity and a more positive mindset.
For more information on this process, please contact Tom Callam (TCallam@cdhcpa.com) – Director of HR.