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5 Tips for Letting Go of an Employee or Contractor

One of the hardest parts of being a business owner is letting go of employees or contractors when necessary. Terminating your relationship with a contractor or employee can be challenging for many reasons, including potential emotional connections; but if you use these five tips from the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, the task will be easier.


1. Know Your Reason for Termination

Human Resource Director reports that one study found that 74% of American employees work for companies with an at-will status, which means they can be let go for any reason. If you are a supervisor or owner of an at-will business, you don't always need a reason to let go of an employee, but knowing and explaining the circumstances leading to the termination protects you from lawsuits brought by disgruntled former workers.


You may decide to let go of an employee who frequently fails to complete assignments in a timely manner or does not show up to work. You may also fire someone who harasses other workers. You may even need to terminate because you must downsize the company. Communicate the reason for your decision to terminate and your workers are more likely to understand.


Terminating your relationship with contractors is slightly more difficult. You are entitled to compensation for damages if there is a breach of contract, meaning that a contractor failed to perform duties outlined in the employment contract, but you must ensure that the contract is legally binding to receive the money you deserve.


2. Document Everything

Keeping all employee documentation in one location is a good way to protect your company from a wrongful termination lawsuit. You must show documentation for why you chose to let go of the employee and paperwork showing how you performed the task. Instead of keeping multiple files, you can use a PDF merge tool to keep all the records in one convenient place; try this tool, which is very user-friendly. Upload all of your files on your previous employee to one PDF so that you have documentation of the entire termination process.


3. Have the Conversation in Private

There is no reason to have a delicate discussion regarding termination in front of other workers. Take the employee you plan to let go to a private office or other space where you can inform them of your decision to terminate and help them understand your reasoning. Reducing embarrassment is the best way to preserve your company's reputation and show compassion to your employee.


4. Be Kind and Specific

Your employee may be emotional at the thought of being let go from the company. Use kind language to explain your decision. If the employee has done something wrong that led to the firing, point out specific examples to ensure that he or she has a complete understanding of what happened. When people understand why they are let go, they are less likely to pursue legal action against your company.


5. Complete the Process Quickly

Once you make the decision to fire an employee or contractor, take action immediately. There is no reason to put off completing the necessary paperwork. If the worker had keys to your commercial building, make sure you take them back. Change codes to get into your building when necessary and complete termination paperwork immediately so that your former employee can start looking for a new job immediately. 


Be Kind but Clear

Firing someone you work with is one of the most disliked tasks of being a supervisor or business owner. It will never be an easy process, but following these steps can ease the difficulty. Make sure that you are compassionate, but also clear. And provide documentation using PDF merge tools for your own records and to ensure the affected employee or contractor understands what caused their termination. If there is a breach of contract or other major issue, consider involving an attorney, too. The goal is to make this process as quick and painless as possible while also protecting your business. It’s a delicate process, but following these tips can help.

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