Things to know before they go

Monday 16th of January 2017

Your employees are the most valuable resource in your business – as anyone who has ever had stellar employees can say with certainty. However, it is also a widespread truth that not all employees are excellent, and not all employees will work out. Sometimes the employment relationship must come to an end for the sake of the business, or sometimes for financial reasons, and on many occasions it is the employer that must make that difficult decision.

Before you terminate an employee, there are a few key things to remember:

  1. Have a plan – If you decide that an employee needs to be terminated, the worst thing you could do in any such situation is make the decision haphazardly. True, there are extreme instances where this may be necessary.  However those instances are rare. Having a well-planned termination meeting where you have considered who will be present, what will be said, and what paperwork will be distributed is key. Beyond that, there are other issues you may not have considered offhand, such as the possibility of having security present, how the employee will be escorted from the building, how the other employees will be informed, etc. A well-planned meeting can make a difficult situation smooth; poor planning can be a recipe for disaster.
  1. What are you missing – While the employment relationship may not be working out, have you given thorough consideration to why this might be the case? Has there been a sudden change in the employee’s personality and behaviour which may have another explanation? Are there signs of something else going on behind the scenes which you may not have addressed? While you may be terminating this employee entirely for business reasons, remember that human rights laws in your jurisdiction likely protect employees from numerous grounds of discrimination, and their behaviour may fall into one of these categories. If that is the case, there may be other solutions besides termination where you can be of assistance to the employee, and get the employment relationship back on track.
  1. Call an expert – Most cases of wrongful termination arise because the employer had not taken the necessary steps to prepare. An employment lawyer can help you assess the situation before you make any firm decisions, such as reviewing that the necessary paperwork is in place in order to help avoid trouble later. Employment lawyers can also assist with termination planning, in order to make sure an unpleasant situation runs as smoothly as possible. While it is impossible to completely remove the risk of a legal claim, forethought and sound planning can help minimize risk and keep your business running smoothly during troublesome times.

Disclaimer: Welcome! Please note that this blog and its posts are intended for educational uses only. They are not intended as, nor should they be construed by the user as legal advice.  The use of this blog and this post does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation then please feel free to contact us to arrange for an in-person consultation.

By Mitchell Rose and Shaun Bernstein, Stancer Gossin Rose LLP

Lawyers and Mediators, Toronto

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