Q. I have an employee in my department who was involved in a fight at work. He has asked to be allowed to resign rather than be terminated. I like this guy. Should I let him do this?
A. No. One of the most common mistakes employers make is trying to be too nice when it’s time to terminate an employee. You should treat equally all employees who have engaged in conduct warranting termination, and you should inform them of the specific grounds for termination.
Letting an employee “resign” can cause significant problems if, for example, the employee later claims he was forced to resign because of his membership in a protected class (e.g., race, national origin, disability). The employer’s after-the-fact assertion that the employee was actually terminated for fighting could end up looking like a concocted excuse, giving a reviewing jury or court reason to disbelieve the employer.
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