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A Small Business Owner's Guide to Cutting Loose Employees and Contractors


According to the U.S. Census, approximately 61.3 million employees work at small businesses. Even if you run a startup, there's a decent chance a handful of individuals are presently working on your behalf. Throughout your venture's lifespan, there will probably be situations where firing someone is necessary. Here are some matters the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce wants you to remember when sending a staff member packing.


Reasons for Letting Someone Go

As the boss, it is your responsibility to rid your office of troublesome employees. Allowing such individuals to continue in your employment could hurt your bottom line, create a toxic workspace, or result in a lawsuit. Learn to recognize when someone has given cause for termination.


Staffers whose on-the-job performance remains subpar for an extended period are intolerable. Chronically showing up late or not at all is another reason for saying goodbye. explains that you should evaluate employee performance on three criteria: initiative, flexibility, and goal setting. If you have employees who struggle with all three, then it might be time to let them go.


Sexual harassment is an inexcusable violation and should not be tolerated. Victims may not verbalize when they are being negatively affected, so it’s important to educate yourself concerning cues that suggest misbehavior is present. Requiring employees to complete a harassment prevention program can help employees to recognize the signs and have the confidence to speak up. There are now online courses available, making training both inexpensive and convenient.


Naturally, theft and violence are two other solid reasons for ceasing employment. Staff who commit these violations can hurt your bottom line. Contractors who fail to fulfill the promises specified in their agreements are also a fiscal liability. As long as they have breached a legally binding and enforceable contract, they can be held responsible in court. Be sure that you have clear documentation and cannot be placed at fault before you pursue a breach of contract. It is recommended to work with a lawyer if you feel you need to move forward with this accusation.


Tasks Related to Letting Someone Go

With the determination made, it's time to prepare. Craft an understanding of termination that outlines the terms of dismissal. Include details concerning final pay, benefits, and the turning in of security keys. Don't forget to change passwords and revoke network access.


Carefully choose the time and place for delivering the news; the end of business days is best for minimizing a ruckus. Never fire an individual who is recovering from an illness or surgery. The Family Medical Leave Act imposes penalties on employers who do.


Prepare what you'll say ahead of time. It may be helpful to write down the reasons and rationales for the decision. Keep your statement short and sweet. Avoid debate, placing blame, or letting emotions get in the way. Demonstrate your devotion to professionalism under every circumstance.


Protecting Your Business from the Fallout

Some take being sent home with more grace than others. Those lacking poise may retaliate. Shielding your company from counterattack remains vital. It’s best to have a witness present during your meeting or confrontation. This person can verify your integrity during the meeting should a lawsuit develop. Another option is to record the session, but this can be tricky territory. Be sure to review HR policies beforehand, and consult with an employment lawyer if you fear litigation.


Instruct the soon-to-be-former worker to sign and date the letter of termination. Before partying ways, share a copy of this record. Keep the original on file. Design a reliable system for keeping track of employee matters. In addition to physical record keeping, have digital duplicates on hand. Multiple documents can become one with a PDF extraction tool. Just select the pages you want united and convert them into a single PDF. Voila! Every record now exists in one convenient location.


Know Your Options First

Cutting ties with staffers can be emotionally trying, yet it's sometimes unavoidable. There are plenty of dos and don'ts when approaching the task. Maintain clear and accurate records, and communicate your reasons to the employee during your exit interview. And if there are complicated issues, like breach of contract, work with an attorney to ensure you and your business are protected. Letting someone go is a delicate process. Be kind, but also be sensible to maintain your integrity throughout the process.


Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowski via Pexels


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