Not ready to fire? Give one last chance

Should he stay or should he go? Sometimes, a marginal worker shows promise and immediate termination isn’t warranted. Plus, you’re concerned that a lawsuit may follow the firing.

Of course, serious employee misconduct must trigger serious consequences.

However, if immediate termination isn’t wanted or warranted, use a last-chance agreement. This shows a judge, jury or unemployment board that the employee was given ample warning.

Be clear when drafting each last chance agreement. Every LCA should include:

  • The reason the LCA is warranted. Tip: Write it up with the idea that it must be clearly understood by a third party, such as a judge.
  • The terms and conditions that must be met by the employee, including a specific deadline.
  • The time frame that the LCA is effective. One or two years is common, but LCAs can be in effect indefinitely.
  • The consequences of failing to satisfy the terms and conditions of the agreement, i.e., employment will be terminated.
  • An acknowledgment that the employee has read and understands the agreement, which the employee and you sign and date. If the employee refuses to sign, note and initial with a witness present that the LCA was reviewed with the employee and the employee refused to sign. Emphasize to the employee that the LCA is still in effect, regardless.