At times, most managers have been frustrated to the point of wanting to scream, “YOU’RE FIRED!”  And while that phrase made a TV reality show wildly popular, it actually isn’t reality.  Terminations are a process, not a reaction.

Although Texas is an “employment at-will” state, most companies avoid firing and employee without cause.  There are many research studies to find reasons why employees are fired.  After sifting through many of these studies, the most common terminations for cause are as follows:

  • Falsifying company records or lying to a client or supervisor, (this includes false information on a resume or job application)
  • Stealing or damaging company property
  • Poor performance, not doing his or her work, or bringing personal problems to work
  • Possession and/or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work
  • Absenteeism or coming in late on a regular basis
  • Insubordination, refusing to follow orders or direction
  • Inappropriate behavior or language including harassing co-workers, engaging in office politics, gossip, complaining about work, or sleeping on the job
  • Using company property for personal business, including unauthorized surfing on the internet, breach of social media or email policy
  • Violating company policy

1st Line of Defense

While some of the above actions are grounds for immediate termination, others require more time, and all require correct and complete documentation to protect your company from liability.  The first step in documentation is the Employee Handbook.  The Employee Handbook is a valuable tool that sets expectations, letting the employee know the company culture and how you conduct business.

The Employee Handbook outlines consistent personnel policies as well as state and federal regulations.  It tells your employees about the benefits offered and the eligibility requirements.  The employee should sign and acknowledgement that he or she received a copy of the handbook and has reviewed it.  This is your first line of defense in unemployment or legal claims.

Later if there is a need to correct unwanted behavior or poor performance, a progressive system of discipline helps rehabilitate employees with potential.  Progressive discipline ensures that consequences are applied fairly and consistently.  Fair and consistent application will protect you and your company from complaints and lawsuits.

4 Steps to Progressive Discipline

  1. Verbal warning. Have a conversation with the employee to explain the infraction and the expected behavior.  Clearly state that this conversation is a warning.
  2. Written warning. If the behavior continues, have a meeting with the employee and give him or her a written warning.  The warning should again explain the unwanted behavior, the expected behavior, and the consequences if the behavior continues.
  3. Final Job in Jeopardy Warning. Given enough time to correct the unwanted behavior, the employee whose actions remain uncorrected may be given a final written warning.  In this stage of discipline, the warning should state clearly that another infraction will result in termination.
  4. Termination

Many managers shy away from correcting employee behavior until the behavior has reached the stage of Progressive Discipline.  A recent study indicated 72% of employees want corrective feedback from their supervisor.   Keeping communications open and handling situations as they arise may make terminations a rare occurrence and save “YOU’RE FIRED!” for TV shows.

To learn more about the process of terminations join us Tuesday, November 13, 23018 at 11:00 a.m. CDT for the Webinar: Grounds for Termination.  Register today!