5 best practices for terminating employees



Terminating an employee is never an easy task. But if it needs to be done, there are certain dos and don’ts that can make the process go more smoothly. Let’s break down a few common best practices for terminating employees.


Do: Plan Ahead

If at all possible, try to give the employee some notice that their job may be in jeopardy. This way, they have time to try to improve their performance or look for another job. Not only is this humane, but it can also help avoid legal trouble down the road.


Do: Be Respectful

Even if the employee is being let go for good cause, there is no need to be disrespectful. Be professional and courteous throughout the process. Remember, this person is likely feeling scared and vulnerable, so treat them with compassion.


Don’t: Delay the Inevitable

If you’ve made the decision to terminate an employee, don’t delay in carrying out the action. The longer you wait, the harder it will be on both you and the employee. Additionally, any delays could give the employee false hope that their job isn’t really in jeopardy. If you’ve made up your mind, it’s best to just bite the bullet and get it over with.


Don’t: Get Emotional

When terminating an employee, it is important to keep your emotions in check. Getting angry or defensive will only make the situation worse and could even lead to a hostile work environment claim. Stick to the facts and remain calm throughout the process.


Do: Follow these Steps When Terminating an Employee

While terminating an employee is never an easy task, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that the process is as smooth and professional as possible.


Step 1

The first step is to make sure that you have documented everything. This means keeping track of absences, tardiness, poor performance, and any incidents that may have occurred. It is important to have this documentation in writing so that you can refer back to it if necessary. This will also help to protect you and your business in the event that the employee decides to take legal action.


Step 2

Next, you will need to hold a meeting with the employee. During this meeting, you should explain why they are being terminated and give them a chance to ask questions or share their side of the story. It is important to be respectful and professional during this conversation.


Step 3

Once the meeting is over, you will need to provide the employee with a termination letter. This letter should state the reasons for their termination and list any final instructions, such as returning company property or completing any unfinished work.

Step 4

Finally, make sure to document everything related to the termination. This includes the date of the termination, the reason for the termination, and anything else that was discussed during the meeting. Keeping good records will help to protect your business in case there are any future legal issues.



No one likes having to terminate an employee, but sometimes it is necessary. When it is time to let someone go, follow these dos and don’ts and simple steps to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.