Problem Employee | How To Get Rid Of

How to fire the high-risk problem employee.

You must keep the problem employee's anger as low as possible or you risk an expensive wrongful termination lawsuit.

Sometimes the risks and costs of a lawsuit are so high, it's best to keep the problem employee on the payroll. Let me give you some examples of terminations which should've never happened...

  • A company fired an worker and her husband after she testified at an unemployment hearing for another coworker. The jury awarded the worker and her husband $4,352,316.

  • A 49-year old worker sued his employer for falsely accusing him of altering documents and then firing him. He and his lawyer argued the "real" reason was age discrimination. The jury awarded the plaintiff $5 million.

  • An employer fired a gay motel manager for being incompetent. The manager then sued claiming he was the victim of a hostile work environment and the "real" termination reason was he was gay. The jury awarded the manager $11,200,000.

Although I don't know the supervisors in each of these cases, I'm sure they wish they would've kept these staff members. The cost of firing was too high for their supervisory careers and their companies.

Let me define a high-risk worker. A high-risk worker is someone who's likely to sue the company and win. For example, a worker who's sleeping with the boss is high risk when you terminate her. She'll be angry about the termination (and the end of her relationship) and will prove the boss illegally harassed her.

As you read this, you probably are saying to yourself, "If I can't fire a high-risk worker, how can I ever get rid of him?"

The answer is through negotiations. You delicately approach the high-risk worker and ask him to leave voluntarily. As part of your negotiations, you offer him a healthy severance package in return for a release of claims. This release prevents the worker from ever suing you. And paying the severance is cheap when you compare it to losing a wrongful termination suit.

More often than not, the worker will take this deal after some negotiating. Likely, he wants to leave the company as much as you want to get rid of him. He knows the company doesn't want him, and he would prefer working for a company which does. So most of time, a negotiated termination leads to a happy ending for everybody.

If the worker doesn't take the deal, then that's all right, too. You don't have to worry about a wrongful termination claim because you never fired him. And, he can never say you forced him out because you made the separation voluntary.

To find out more about how to fire properly, you should get a copy of “Employee Termination Guidebook” by Dan Betts. In this book, you’ll learn how to fire high-risk (and medium and low risk) workers using simple procedures. It shows you exactly how to protect yourself from legal action. Click problem employee procedures to discover how to fire and layoff properly.

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