You’re Fired



You’re Fired! How often have you wanted to say that, and how satisfying would it be? Mr Trump may have made a mint sacking people in an international arena but you are unlikely to get away with it in your own office.

So are your hands tied? Well yes and no. There is nothing to stop up you firing the person who is habitually late, thumps a customer, views porn or sells your product at 10% less than it cost you to make it. It is your business and you are allowed to sack people for non performance or unacceptable behaviour. Just make sure you get it right. The whole premise of the employment act is one of “good faith”. You’d be forgiven for thinking this means bend over backwards; actually it just means be fair.

So how do you do it? Like everything else the foundation is the key. There is no point repairing the hole in the bucket, after the water’s leaked out. When you employ someone, make sure they have an up to date employment agreement, a job description that truly represents what you expect of them and clear house rules or company policies.

Make sure the employee has read and understood them, and get them to sign to say they have. Have a planned induction programme in place, then if the time comes to performance manage the employee you have a frame work to which you can refer.

The employee must have been fully aware of the expectations of their job description and told exactly what their shortcomings are. They should have been given adequate warnings that the shortcomings must not continue and told that dismissal will be considered if they do. Oral and written warnings should have been given when appropriate. The employee should be given time to correct the shortcomings along with training and support. The employee should be given a fair hearing when the misconduct or incompetence continues.

Every employee has the right to representation at disciplinary meetings and the time to arrange it. They must have the opportunity to respond to any allegations question statements and to ask questions. Finally, the employee has the right of appeal.

Depending on the severity of the situation, you may want to consider an oral or written warning or go straight to termination. Whichever you choose, begin with an investigation, inform the employee, undertake a disciplinary interview and then confirm your action.

Explain the nature of the issue to the employee and the potentual impact on their employment. Adise them of their right to have representation and arrange a meeting time. Tell the employee that the matter will be fully investigated and that they will have an opportunity to explain their misconduct or poor performance.

You should conduct the disciplinary interview in private with another representative of your company as a witness. Present all facts, allegations and issues to the employee and be clear about the possible consequences. Give the employee a real chance to explain or justify their actions. Take full notes during the meeting, detailing who was present, what was said and who said it, the date, time and location. Notes must also contain the employee’s responses/explanation to the allegations.

Close the meeting telling the employee that you will take time to consider the outcome and that you will arrange another meeting with the employee when a decision has been made. This meeting should be as soon as possible but not too quickly. You need to be seen to be giving full consideration to the employees’ explanations. Any suggestion that you made up your mind before the interview, could land you with a personal grievance and very little chance of winning it.

If you decide to give a warning, notify the employee of the level of warning that will be issued and advise them that further disciplinary action will be taken if the problem is not corrected within a reasonable period of time.

All warning letters must state the nature of the issue, the improvement required, how this is measured, the review date and how long the warning will remain in effect. The letter should then be signed by the employee as an accurate record of what was discussed.

Most employers find themselves with a personal grievance, not because they were wrong to fire an employee but because they got the procedure wrong.

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