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How do you fire someone who is having difficult personal problems?

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in Human Resources,The HR Specialist Forum

We are going to have to terminate an employee whose personal life has been in turmoil for the last year. There's no doubt he needs to go (the decision has been made), but his manager feels terrible about having to fire the man. What kind of advice can I offer the manager? What kind of help should we offer the employee?—Pete C., Colorado


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Ismael Tabije July 23, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I suppose the reasons for management’s decision to terminate him is valid and now whimsical, e.g., he is incompetent or his position is redundant or that there is an urgent need to trim down personnel, etc. If so, you just have to say it the way it is. Cut and cut cleanly. There’s just no way that the manager can get away from the “guilt” of telling the guy that he’s terminated. But that’s life. And that’s a job every manager should be ready to do at least once in his lifetime (most likely, several times).

On your question of what to offer the employee. The question is: does he deserve it? If yes, then consider giving him a better severance pay than what your company policy says. Or if he’s just dumb but his wife isn’t, then you may consider hiring the wife as replacement, instead. Or hire any of his children if there’s an opening within the company.

Hope these ideas help

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