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How to Terminate Employees With Dignity


Acknowledge whatever contribution the employee HAS made to the company

In creating training programs on workplace violence, I discovered that the leading cause of employees returning and wreaking havoc on a workplace is that they were personally demeaned during the termination process.


Example:   We appreciate your 90 days of service, your one year of service.


State company rule or job expectation.


Example:       Arriving to work absent illegal drugs in your system.

Example:       We hired you to increase revenues at “x” store. 


State what the employee did.


Example:       You tested positive for drugs or alcohol after showing up to work.

Example:       The revenues at store “x” have not increased, but expenses have.


State how violation of policy affects co-workers or customersAvoid sounding judgmental or condescending.  It’s “just the facts”.  


Example:       Other employees lives were endangered due to your inebriation.


Example:       We are going to have to reduce staff to accommodate the shortfall.


State how customer is impacted by their behavior.   Avoid sounding judgmental or condescending.  It’s “just the facts”.  


Example:       When you come to work under the influence of drugs, our customer’s safety is compromised. 


Example:       Having to reduce staff, our customers will receive worse customer service.


Ask the employee if they understand the issues you have raised.


Listen and take notes.  Do not judge, do not get into an altercation.  


Severance package or unemployment insurace- Sign release otherwise do not offer severance.   I believe in allowing the employee to file for unemployment so that they can get on with their life and NOT focus on resenting you.