How To Fire: An Employer PSA

There’s no other way to put it: firing an employee is no fun, regardless of the circumstances. In addition, it takes quite a bit of knowledge of how to do so legally, especially in the state of California. And considering you won’t always have time to prepare for letting someone go, it’s absolutely essential you know the process. It could save you from considerable legal trouble.

Let’s discuss some of the key points to the process.

Questions for employers (before terminating an employee)

  1. Are you knowledgeable of protected classes? Some employees will fall under certain protection that employers must be aware of and adhere to the appropriate termination guidelines. For example, an employee with a disability or on a temporary leave is protected from being terminated for their disability.
  2. Do you have a contract with the employee? If so, employers must take care that the cause for termination does not break any clause they have with the employee.
  3. Is the employee on leave? In addition to those in a protected class, all employees are often protected from (certain types of) termination when they are on leave or when they have an open claim against the employers. Proceed with caution here, seek assistance if necessary when dealing with these situations (ahem, Eos HR can help you!).
  4. Are you following policy? This might be the most important step of all. Employers should always have a (written) protocol on terminating employees, and follow it.
  5. Do you have the proper people and location for the event? It’s important to have HR present when terminating an employee, and if this is not possible, another appropriate individual. And by appropriate, we mean someone knowledgeable in the legal obligations of termination. This person acts not only as witness but also ensures the meeting is handled legitimately.

Also, a reminder. When terminating an employee, the employer is obligated to have all monies due to the employee at the time of termination. This includes regular wages AND accrued wages such as PTO/vacation.

By terminating an employee in the correct manner, the employer not only mitigates legal hassles but also sets the right tone for the culture of their company. It will speak very loudly to the other staff members of the respect their employer has of them and their work.

If you need assistant with managing your employees, Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources and the confidence to lead a productive and respectful workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.