10 Mistakes When Firing Employees

When an employee fails to perform to expectations, ditches work for several days without informing management, or acts in a way that is detrimental to a business, it might be time to dismiss them. Before you contact that employee to present the termination notice, ensure to have all things in place. Terminating any employee should be executed with great care to avoid any potential legal action and other commotion. Unfortunately, mistakes do tend to occur during this not-so-welcoming procedure.

Here is a rundown of 10 mistakes when terminating employees.

  1. Not having a signed agreement

At the time an offer of employment is extended, the Employment Agreement (or contract) should also be presented, and signed. The agreement should specifically mention the termination clauses.

  1. Failing to implement standard employee policies

If you intend to fire an employee with cause, be sure to have a signed agreement that outlines this process, from the employee. Even basic office policies should be provided to employees to avoid any kind of hassles during or after termination.

  1. Providing an excess of information/reasons

When terminating any employee, keep it precise and short. Stick to the facts and keep away from justifying. Most often, managers tend to commit the gravest mistake of making the termination process personal eventually putting them in hot water.

  1. Not documenting and filing the reviews

In several instances, people fail to document or file employee reviews. It becomes problematic if you don’t have the proper documentation to support reasons for termination, or performance issues leading to dismissal. A cloud based HR software with excellent automation functionalities can be of great help here.

  1. Allowing access to information systems

People often make the mistake of allowing the employees to access key information systems such as intranet, emails, customer data, etc. during or before the termination. There have been instances where employees misuse these systems sabotaging a company’s brand or image.

  1. Not conducting proper investigation

If an employee is suspended due to some allegations made against him/her, it becomes critical to accurately investigate to verify all the allegations before handing him or her the termination notice. Failing to do so and terminating an employee without conducting a proper investigation can invite legal hurdles for the company.

  1. Waiting for the right time

There is no right time to terminate an employee. Once you have decided, do it immediately without any delays. Waiting or delaying can trigger a negative vibe across the organization and can make it all the more difficult for the employee if they find out about it ahead of time.

  1. Arguing with the employees

Never do it. Though it is expected for the employee to be upset over the termination, remember that arguing with the employee will lead you nowhere except creating a ruckus.

  1. Failing to act wisely

If you are about to terminate any employee and the word gets out across the organization somehow, it might be detrimental for company’s image and repute. Therefore, ensure to break the news in total confidentiality to keep the morale up.


Consider these common mistakes as your guidebook when firing an employee. No one loves to play the bad guy, but sometimes we are left with no choice. Keep away from these 10 mistakes to sail smoothly through this difficult phase whilst safeguarding the company from legal litigation and damages.

Author: Anwar Shaikh

Anwar Shaikh writes about HRM solutions and Payroll software in India. A self-made and reared-up writer, Anwar writes for Pocket HCM, a leading provider of HR management solutions to small and mid-sized businesses all across India.

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