“You’re fired.” Sometimes, the reason we don’t terminate someone is that we’re afraid or we don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings. But remember this, if it’s not a good fit, then it’s best for everyone involved for the working relationship to come to an end. The longer you let it go on, the worse things could get.
If you have a bad apple, get it out of the barrel before it spoils the bunch. That actually happens in apple barrels – and in organizations.
You have a responsibility to the whole.
When it comes to having the law on your side, keep in mind that there’s a difference between having a bad attitude and exhibiting bad behavior. You can’t fire someone for being negative. It’s annoying, but there’s legally nothing wrong with that until they start exhibiting that negativity in communications with customers and coworkers. That combative communication is the performance behavior associated with the attitude of being negative. You’re not terminating or disciplining on an attitude. You’re terminating on a performance behavior that has been clearly and thoroughly documented.
Unemployment often looks at what the incident was that caused the termination, basically the straw that broke the camel’s back. What happened?
There are times when it is absolutely appropriate to make an immediate termination, and those things should have been crystal clear in your handbook. Obvious grounds for immediate dismissal include theft from the company, coworkers, or customers; sabotage of equipment; threat of bodily harm; physical violence, etc. Be sure to double check your state employment guidelines too. You can always “suspend pending the outcome of an investigation.” That gives you time to dot your Is, cross your Ts and consult with your employment attorney!
Start keeping notes, tracking changes and collecting data. You can start documenting immediately, even without a formal job description. Pull up your calendar right now and make a note: “Decided to rewrite job descriptions and start documenting good and bad incidents at work.” Get a system, however simple, and get started. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be functional.
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