Post a new topic
    5 Replies Latest reply on May 12, 2008 12:36 PM by MRFINANCE

    Need to lay off an employee, need advice

    Bluesuit Adventurer
      I have been asked to let go an underperforming employee due to budget cuts. We simply can't support such a large team any more. This person has been with our company for over 5 years. To make matters worse this employee probably doesn't suspect it which makes this even harder for me. I've never had to let any one go before. Can someone please give me advice? I know it sounds odd that I am having anxiety over this conversation.
        • Re: Need to lay off an employee, need advice
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Need to lay off an employee. Yes it harder than you think.
          Getting fired is one of those things that happen to just about everyone eventually
          But never when you expect it. DO NOT MENTION "underperforming"
          Do you have an employee handbook?? Is there a section on termination??
          Give the person praise, support, a good reference, leave the door open for this person
          to return if the company business or economy picks up.
          You might want to have a second person in the room as backup.
          Letting somebody go is a learning experience.
          This might be hard, BUT better the underperforming employee than you.
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: Need to lay off an employee, need advice
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            First, ensure that there is no employment contract (written or implied). Next, review your Employee Handbook. In CA, if there is no employment contract, the handbook should state that employment is presumed to be "at-will" -- which means that both you and the employee are free to end the employment relationship at any time for any reason so long as the reason isn't illegal. The at-will relationship doesn't make firing someone any easier, but it does reduce the landmines you have to avoid.

            You say the employee doesn't suspect it, which suggests that you have not been telling this person that he/she has been underperforming, nor have you been documenting the performance shortfalls and the efforts you made to help the employee succeed. So firing this person for underperforming would be a surprise and therefore somewhat unfair -- and it may be perceived as unfair by the employee and by his/her coworkers (and probably by a jury, if the employee finds a reason to sue). So I would avoid saying that the termination is because of that, unless you have been saying it and documenting it for quite awhile.

            Instead, I would call the person in (it is best to have another manager or HR person in the room to observe, if possible) and come directly to the point: "John, your job is being terminated, effective immediately. The company is cutting expenses and simply can't support such a large team anymore." Then briefly tell the person how and when he/she will receive the final paycheck and payment for any unused vacation or other benefits. Finally, discuss an arrangement that will let the employee collect any personal effects without humiliation and without risk to company property or resources (in other words, don't march the person out the door in front of everybody, but don't give the person unsupervised access either).

            Be brief, but compassionate. Let the person ask questions or talk about what went wrong if he/she wants. Listen, paraphrase, and empathize -- but don't apologize, sympathize, or explain the decision to terminate beyond your initial statement. If necessary, just calmly repeat, over and over, "The company is cutting expenses and we simply can't support your job anymore."

            Hope this helps. Good luck.

            • Re: Need to lay off an employee, need advice
              TheMan Newbie
              Not performing to expectations....if you were laying off someone that was PERFORMING to should have a problem...if they are not...get someone else....or they will replace you for keeping someone that is a drain to the company. That is a no brainer.
              • Re: Need to lay off an employee, need advice
                LUCKIEST Guide
                Need to lay off an employee

                Bring us up to date. Did you lay off the employee YET??

                How do it go?? and how do you feel??
                • Re: Need to lay off an employee, need advice
                  MRFINANCE Adventurer
                  Do it like removing a them in on a Friday afternoon and JUST DO IT!
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful