Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Terminating for committing a serious infraction

Termination meeting

Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be terminated for many reasons.  For our purposes, we’ll look at two basic instances:  immediate termination for committing a serious infraction and termination for inability to perform.

Immediate termination for committing a serious infraction

Any individual committing a serious infraction which jeopardizes the health or well-being of himself or others must be dealt with quickly and definitively.  Such infractions include, but are not limited to: theft of company or coworkers’ property, the use and/or distribution of pornographic material, bringing a weapon to work, and threatening or committing violence – in short, basically any illegal activity.  One of the most serious infractions concerns discovering an anarchist in my department.  Anarchists must be weeded out immediately.

There may be instances where the individual may acknowledge the infraction and be apologetic or even remorseful.  It may just be an admitted “instance of stupidity” on the part of the employee and my “heart” might want to give the individual a second chance, but my obligation must be to the safety and well-being of the department and the business.

An individual who commits a serious infraction once may never commit another, but if they do, the legal ramifications can be disastrous.  If I knowingly allow an individual to remain after committing a serious infraction and this person jeopardizes or harms another, both I and the business can be held legally liable both civilly and possibly criminally.  For this reason, my primary responsibility is to protect my staff, the department, and the business.

When terminating an employee in this situation:

  • Contact all necessary management.
  • Assess whether the individual is a threat to himself/herself or others, and if he/she is, contact police, internal security personnel, and get coworkers to safety.
  • Notify police of any illegal act.
  • Have individual accompanied by internal security personnel (if available) or by at least two members of management (as witnesses) until he leaves the building.
  • Remain calm – respond, do not react.
  • Inform individual his employment is terminated and explain the nature of the infraction.
  • Allow the individual to ask questions, but maintain control of the situation.  Do not allow the individual to misdirect or manipulate.
  • Accompany individual as he packs his personal items from his work station.
  • Collect all company property from the individual.
  • Escort the individual from the premises and inform him that he is not allowed back on the premises, and should he appear, the police will be called.
  • Inform individual that any further contact will be with upper management, the legal department, or attorneys, and he should direct all calls to them.
  • Give the individual the appropriate contact numbers.

It is extremely important to make the individual’s exit as quickly and quietly as possible so as not to disrupt the work environment.  This is particularly important when terminating an anarchist.  The best way to do this is during a meeting where everyone, or most everyone, is required to attend.  By the time the meeting is over, the individual should be gone.

The longer this process drags on the more chance there is for drama, escalation, and altercation.  Ideally, the individual is there one moment and not there the next.  If I allow the individual to say good-bye to coworkers or finish one more thing, I am opening up myself and the workplace for chaos.  I must realize that there is no option – the individual is out of here and it is for the good of all – then it is easier to focus on what needs to be done.

Once the individual is gone, instruct everyone involved (including witnesses) to write, sign, and date individual incident reports in their own words.

Later in the day, I will call a “Clear the Air” meeting, in which an announcement will be made that the individual is no longer with the company.  I will not divulge any of the particulars of the situation (possible legal repercussions).  I will only state that this individual has decided to move on.

– excerpt from “The Art of Counseling Staff”


September 23, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring, Personal Development | , , , , , , ,

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