Handle a hostile termination

Being fired isn’t an easy thing for employees to handle. With emotions running high, some situations escalate quickly. Be prepared to handle emotional outbursts:

  • Use your witness wisely. Get a credible, appropriate witness—for example, an HR employee—and seat the person near the door. Should a problem arise, he or she can make a quick exit to get help.
  • Have all the documentation ready to go. Don’t cause tensions to rise by stopping to print something out or make copies or by leaving the room to grab something you forgot.
  • Be direct. It’s important to be upfront and specific. Resist providing a laundry list and narrow the focus to three reasons.
  • Provide clear instructions. Explain what the person will need to do and what you will do on your end.
  • Don’t let it drag out. When you’ve said all that you can say, end the meeting. Be empathetic but stand strong about the discussion being over.
  • Document your account. Write a summary of the termination meeting. Be sure to note behaviors and any verbal threats the employee made toward you.

— Adapted from “Discipline and Termination: Ensuring Employee Safety in Stressful Situations,” www.synovusbank.sbresources.com.