By Edward Woodall

In the first post of this series, we discussed what you should do once you decide you have to fire an employee. In this second post, I’ll tell you the do’s and don’ts of conducting the termination meeting.

At the termination meeting:

  • Do have as few staff around as possible during the meeting and to conduct the meeting in a neutral setting. Sometimes, it’s best to use an empty conference room at the end of the day for the termination meeting. But there should be one person to witness the termination meeting along with the company representative actually conducting the meeting.
  • Do deliver the message of termination succinctly and make clear that the decision has been made. It is not a time for argument with the employee, making promises, or over-sympathizing. There is usually not any need to spend a long time reviewing the issues – this tends to make the meeting longer than necessary and make the people involved more emotional.
  • Don’t forget to obtain all company property in the possession of the employee at the meeting and to make arrangements for return of any other property as soon as possible thereafter.
  • Do make sure you are very clear regarding any post-termination access to the company offices and property. Usually, there should be no access. If you make any exceptions, they should be spelled out clearly.
  • Do present the employee with your severance agreement (if any) at the meeting.
  • Don’t insist that the severance agreement be signed right away. The employee should always be provided an opportunity to consult with an attorney. If the employee is over 40, then the employee must be given at least 21 days to consider the agreement.
  • Do be sure to have any termination-related paperwork ready to provide to the employee.
  • Do be careful. If you think the employee may become violent, then seek assistance and take any and all necessary steps to best prevent any such actions (for example, removing dangerous objects from the room).
  • Do have another trusted employee provide assistance to the former employee in gathering personal items. The former employee should be escorted at all times while assembling his or her things and should be escorted out of the premises.
  • Do inform the former employee of one person from the company to be the point of contact with the former employee for any outstanding issues or questions.

Venn Law Group’s employment lawyers can help you plan for termination meetings, prepare and implement policies relating to employee termination, and even conduct a better hiring process in the first place.