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Updated: Nov 18, 2023

Is there a textbook perfect example to fire an employee? Probably not. Is it hard to do fire an employee? In most cases, Definitely yes. However, when firing an employee, it is important to do it in a manner where the employee is still dignified and respected. The employee has anyway contributed to the business and therefore until the employee swipes out, they still represent your company.

When you fire an employee, make sure that IT IS NOT A SURPRISE. Unless in the case of serious misconduct, make sure that the employee has already heard the key hints of being laid off sometime soon. If it is due to performance, put the employee in a Performance Improvement Plan and keep the progress transparent with the employee. Therefore, in case of a dismissal, the employee is prepared for the news rather than it coming as a shock.


You are already putting the employee in a difficult situation and the last thing the employee would want is to be confused or unclear. Be clear about why the management has reached this decision along with details about final pay and compensation, exit procedures and formalities.

“I know how you feel.” Don’t be cliché.

While its important to show empathy, it is also important to not use these lines. I know how you feel, I’ve been there and You’ll be okay are all examples of lines that diminish the employee’s feelings. Showing empathy can even be as simple as few moments of silence which allows the employee to feel the emotion that they are feeling.

Be Polite

You should always remember that this employee would have contributed to the company’s revenue one way or the other even if the performance of the employee was spiraling down. After all, a company’s success always depends on its team and this employee would have surely been a part of the team. So, it is important to be polite when breaking the news. Understand that the employee might vent out anger, fear or frustration at the spur of the moment, but make sure that you are ready for all the outbursts.

Legal Aspects

Before you terminate an employee, be sure that your exit procedure is as per the labor law of the country/state your office is in. This important as employees can come back at any time with a legal allegation that would have never even crossed your minds. So go through the laws one last time before nodding the head to the termination.

Therefore the basic idea is to treat the employees how you would like to be treated. Give Respect, take respect. Let’s strive towards a healthy workplace and end the norm of having bad bosses and management.

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