Terminate an Employee Respectfully

Employers should be aware that the manner by which the message of termination is delivered to an employee often determines whether an employer will be sued or not. The employer must be sensitive to the fact that his or her decision may have a dire affect on the employee’s life style, sense of self esteem, and emotional health and well being. Therefore, the employer must terminate the relationship with courtesy and empathize with the employee in the process. If, for instance, the employee is being laid off due to the dismal economy, the employer should say something to the effect of: “This is not an easy decision for me to make. I have done everything reasonably within my power to avoid making this decision. But I find that I simply don't have a choice. The current economy has gravely impacted our business. We can’t afford to pay someone for your position and to keep the business running. I have to take over the tasks you do myself, to make things more affordable for us. And I don’t know how long this situation will last. I know the job market out there is grim and I am so very sorry to cause you to experience it. However, I will do whatever I can do to help and make your transition as smooth and helpful as possible. I am willing to pay you the equivalent of two months’ salary to help you get a fresh start. It is not much, but it is all I can afford. In return, I request that you sign a severance agreement. Here it is. It is long, but it is typical and talks about your rights and our rights. You don’t have to decide now. Think about it and let me know your thoughts. Feel free to ask any questions you have.”