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A Manager's Guide to Employee Termination
By Ken Wisnefski, President, VendorSeek.com

It is necessary for employers to follow appropriate procedure when terminating an employee. Some managers make errors during this awkward process.

A businessperson must concern themselves with company-related issues. Being a manager associates one with matters relating to making revenue for the business as well as dealing with employees. This means being involved in the processes of hiring, training, evaluation, termination, etc.

A business consultant will help sharpen a manager's skills. A business consultant's job is to focus on all the areas of the job and help the business person augment their abilities. One particular area a business consultant can edify a manager upon concerns the act of terminating an employee.

Managers sometimes err during these events. The following illustrates mistakes to avoid when terminating an employee.

Tell them why

All pertinent managers are to be present during the termination meeting for an employee. The occasion is undoubtedly awkward and uncomfortable for all, but is a necessary process. Most managers will want to save the employee of embarrassment by withholding information relating to the employee's dismissal. It is hugely important not to do so.

It is necessary to educate the employee on the grounds for their dismissal. A manager must remain pragmatic during this period in relation to following due procedure.

Follow procedure

All companies have some form of a policy and procedure manual. More often than not, the manual is dispersed to employees then thrown in their desks, and managers file them away somewhere in a cabinet. It is important for all to familiarize themselves with the manual (especially the managers). The purpose of the policy and procedure manual is to provide a basis for expectations and circumstances; it is to be followed each business day by executives and employees.

Take note of everything

Management is encouraged to keep notes and copies of all instances of transgressions and achievements in relation to employees. This way, management will be able to have documentation to support their executive decisions whether it is in relation to an accommodation or an act of misconduct. Employers need to review incidents with employees and have them sign any related documents.

Withholding of wages


Sometimes the reason for termination involves pecuniary damage to the company. At this point, some employers find it appropriate to withhold wages to compensate for the damage. Unless there is a document signed by the employee at the onset of their employment signifying such an action can occur, this is not viable. An employer withholding wages from an employee runs the very likely risk of an investigation from the U.S. Department of Labor. Once the federal department gets involved, the employer runs the risk of having all of their practices heavily scrutinized.

Confidentiality and non-compete

It is important for the manager to be mindful and to inform the employee upon termination of any previously signed nondisclosure agreements. It is highly recommended to remind the employee of their obligations and provide a copy of the post-employment restrictions at the time of termination. This ensures there will be no 'mistakes' or 'misunderstandings' involving the employee's knowledge of company statistics, secrets, and information.


Kenneth C. Wisnefski is the president of VendorSeek.com, an online business to business marketplace that connects business consumers with pre-approved vendors in over 150 different categories. VendorSeek.com has over 5,000 vendors in their Approved Vendor Network and processes close to 10,000 requests per month from businesses of all sizes.

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