By HANNAH POLK
for the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce
Dismissing an employee is rarely an easy decision, and it can be a stressful and emotional experience for all parties involved. But is there a right way to go about it?
There is no one “right” way to dismiss an employee, as the appropriate approach will depend on the reason (or reasons) for dismissal and the legal requirements in your province. However, there are some best practices you can implement to ensure the dismissal is done with professionalism and sensitivity, leaving both the employer and employee feeling respected.
ISSUE WARNINGS BEFOREHAND
No one likes to be caught off guard, especially with information regarding their employment.
Indeed.com suggests, “Before you approach an employee about termination, have documented proof that supports your reason for terminating them.”
Whether that includes proof of their poor performance, statements from their colleagues, or documents showing budget cutbacks. It can help the employee prepare for potential termination by improving their performance, changing their behaviour, or finding a new job altogether.
FOLLOW THE LAW
Once it has been decided the employee will need to be let go, it is a good idea to refresh yourself on the legal requirements for dismissing an employee. This includes giving the employee the required notice period and following any procedures that were set out in the employee’s contract.
In Saskatchewan, for example, according to the Saskatchewan Employment Act, if an employee has been working for the company for less than one year, the employer is required to give them at least one week notice of termination.
If the employee has been working for the company for more than one year but less than three years, the employer must give them at least two weeks’ notice. And if the employee has been working for the company for more than three years, the employer must give them at least four weeks’ notice.
Communicate clearly and openly with the employee. Make sure the employee understands the reasons for the dismissal and give them an opportunity to ask questions or raise any concerns they may have.
This could help the employee understand their weaknesses and provides a chance for them to improve upon them in the future.
If the dismissal is due to budget cutbacks or some other reason not related to the employee’s performance, it provides them with the peace of mind knowing their work was satisfactory.
Consider offering the employee outplacement assistance or other support to help them transition to their next job.
Providing a positive reference letter can also be a great way to support the employee as they look for new opportunities.