How to Limit the Damage When You Fire an Employee

by Evil HR Lady on August 21, 2015

Someone I had to let go recently is making his departure very difficult for everyone. He was fired, not because he was a horrible person, but because he was not getting the job done. He just is not a fit for the environment – and over the years could not improve his performance.

We provided him with two options. Stay and undergo continued evaluation after re-evaluation until he improved, or leave and get a settlement.

He chose the former at first, then opted for the latter and is now saying he was coerced into resigning.

I work for an organization that is very public and visible and the last thing I want to do is get us on the front page of the local paper! Any advice or suggestions that you could share?

To read the answer, click here: How to Limit the Damage When You Fire an Employee

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny August 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

I would make the non-disparagement provisions in the severance agreement mutual, and have the employer agree to only give a neutral reference, containing dates of employment, positions held and salary, citing policy as the reason for not providing more information. The fact that the employee was allowed to continue to work there for years in which he “could not improve his performance” is an indictment of the employer, as well as the employee.

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Evil HR Lady August 21, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Excellent point. I agree with you and should have said so.

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charles August 21, 2015 at 5:12 pm

“He chose the former at first, then opted for the latter . . .”

Maybe I am missing something here; but, why did they allow this? I thought the settlement was to save time/money of going through the improvement plan.

I can see giving some sort of severance if the improvement doesn’t work out; but, would it be the same as the initial settlement offer?

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Antonia Siemaszko August 21, 2015 at 9:37 pm

I think they stuck with the original offer so as not to have another hassle about going around negotiating. They were already willing to pay out whatever terms they had in the original offer. If it had been months later it might be a new discussion, but seriously it was probably less hassle for HR to deal with.

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Allison September 3, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Dealing with a low performer is never an ideal situation. Even though the company gave him/her options and time to improve, they still fell short. The biggest defense a company can have is documentation. Document, document and document! Although the company is a public and visible company this happens in most companies. So I wouldn’t worry about anything until you have to. I would, however, request a release if you were going to give money. It’s this for that, always! But from the side that is written, it seems the company did the best they could and still the employee was not working out.

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