Firing an employee can be an emotional experience for both of you. The first step is to plan the timing and prepare the needed documents.

Although Friday afternoon has been a favorite time to fire employees, it’s not really the right time. If the employee is upset, they now are dwelling on it all weekend instead of talking to people about a new job. As a rule, first thing in the morning, during lunch when there are fewer coworkers around, or at the end of the day seem to work best.

The documents you are required to give the employee are:

• The Change in Relationship form;
• The EDD unemployment booklet;
• The final paycheck, which includes at least enough pay to cover the termination meeting plus hours worked previously and any unused vacation/PTO hours;
• A pay stub detailing the earnings and every deduction.

You’re now ready to have the meeting. Keep it short and keep it focused. Don’t let this turn into a major discussion or negotiation. If you’re willing to negotiate, you shouldn’t be terminating yet. Obviously, this discussion could easily go sideways if you haven’t actually been talking with the employee about the problem(s). You may also put your company at risk if this termination is a complete surprise to your employee.

Disliking having to fire someone is not a good reason for holding on to an employee that you should terminate. Be kind and respectful during the process and you’ll both survive the meeting.

About Your Columnist

CJ Westrick is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers all things human resources and managing people in the workplace. CJ Westrick, SPHR, has been in human resources (HR) management for over 20 years and has maintained her SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) national certification since 2002. She started HR Jungle, a human resources consulting firm, in 2006 to provide senior-level HR expertise to businesses without internal HR.

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