Protocols for legal and ethical termination of an employee

Updated: 7 months ago
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Employees are often terminated by employers without even following the formal rules and regulations. Instantly terminating employees from the organization is obviously easy but such termination proceedings can result in several legal and ethical issues in the future.

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To avoid any further problematic issues, a few set of protocols concerning the legal and ethical termination of the employees is essential to be kept in mind by the employers. Any of the employers never want to fire their hard-working employees without any reason. Obviously, the repeated poor performance or unwanted behavior or something other gets noticed by the employers to take such hard administrative steps.

In order to remain free from the occurrence of various problematic issues post-termination of the employees, the following sets of legal and ethical issues must individually be understood:-

Legal and Ethical Issues to be understood for terminating an employee from the organization:-

Following own sets of termination policies and procedures: All the employees going to get appointed inside the organization are instructed to obey the company policies and procedures. Complete written documental evidence agreeing with the appointment-related terms and conditions are signed by the employees.

Sets of appointing protocols are there with a detailed explanation of each and every terms and condition along with the termination guidelines as well. Employers must ensure to follow the detailed termination procedures as mentioned and accordingly proceed for such procedures. If employers fail to comply with their own policies and procedures, a discrimination claim can get filed by the employees after termination.

Documental evidence to support the basis of termination: Employers must ensure the existence of written documentation supporting the employee’s termination. Until and unless the employees are not found to be guilt of clear guideline violations, it is better to sort out the issues and continue the employee’s services. In case of the rise of legal issues, if the employer fails to produce the documental evidence of employee’s unwanted acts, it would be problematic for the employer to prove innocent in front of the court. Accordingly, charges against the employer will prove damaging for himself.

Termination based upon the employee’s performance: Employers must have a well-structured employee file explaining the employee’s consistently poor performance. It should also be crystal clear in explaining the employee’s ineligibility for which he has been kept on notice period for a long time. Additionally, the documental evidence must clearly state that the performance has not been up to the organization’s standards, and continuing with the employee will lead towards a major business failure.   

Performance-based termination procedures can be initiated only after serving up the prior notice and attempted counseling procedures to resolve the issues.

After noticing consistent unacceptable behavior from the employees, the following list of steps is needed to be taken from the employers’ end to strengthen the file:-

  •  Issuance of verbal warning to the employees for performance improvement.
  •  Issuance of written warning mentioning the nature of guideline violations.
  •  Organizing a committee for being fair towards the judgment with the employee.
  •  Proceeding towards employee suspension process for fixed time without pay.
  • Terminating the employee finally after finding all the doors closed in his favor.

Providing feedback to make the employee aware of his failings: Employers must be attentive enough in providing consistent feedback to the employees’ performance. It is to be kept in mind by the employers that the main goal of the feedback focuses on the improvement from the employee’s side. After understanding the genuine justification by the employee, it would even restrict the employers to discharge him immediately from the organization.

Executive leadership relations with the HR department: Struggling conflict has been noticed within some of the organizations where the member of the HR team is not made a member of the executive leadership team. This conflict rise in the sense that most of the time the decision was taken even by the executive HR team members does not suits the executive leadership committee. In such a case, ethical differences use to get created among the executive team management and the human resources operations. Sound understanding and acceptability are desired from both ends to ensure smoother proceeding operations among both the individual managements.

Performance judgment: Ethical differences even count whether an employee gets terminated obeying the rightful procedures or not. When the downfall in the performance of the employee's gets noticed by the executive leadership of the organization, they most often direct the HR department to move further with the termination-based procedures against him.

However, after getting the issue noticed by HR, the department finds a provision to provide an opportunity to the concerned employee for performance improvement. The borderline employees are justified by the HR to make them available with another saving opportunity. Instantly proceeding-based instructions issued by the executive leadership put the company’s HR into the biggest dilemma.

Mutual understanding must be there among both the management concerning the termination of any of the company’s employees.

Never being prompt in punishing: Discipline obviously works as one of the most important factors for guiding and fixing up the employee’s behavior. Consistent working with the employee’s personality traits and understanding the work habits are initiated in the workplace. However, punishing up the employees is not good in any aspect which may even lead to several legal and ethical issues.

To cap it all, employers must understand that the organization’s development depends upon the sound performance of the employees appointed under various functioning areas. Even they must never favor the employee's termination. However, despite consistent warnings and making the employee aware about not being updated with the organization’s guidelines, the termination procedure should get initiated after being aware of the legal and ethical aspects. Entire sets of facts to be followed under both the aspects are mentioned in detail to get understood. Accordingly, such administrative steps of employee termination need to be taken in the future.

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