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Perhaps the worst part of owning a business: Firing an employee

As your Ohio business grew, you probably took the step of hiring some help. You developed a process to choose the people you felt you could work well with and that would facilitate the success of your company.

Unfortunately, some people look better on paper and may interview well, but once they begin their duties, you notice that they may not be as good as required. After working with the person for some time and giving him or her every possible chance, you realize that you need to terminate that employee. You want to make sure that you follow the legal requirements to terminate someone and protect your business from a potential wrongful termination claim.

Express your concerns to your employee

Even though your first inclination may be to terminate a problem employee as soon as possible, that could put your company in a precarious position. Instead, take the time to carefully plan the event. Who knows, through the process, you may end up with an employee that you no longer need to fire.

Your employee should have a full understanding of what you expect and know how he or she is failing to meet those expectations. You may also give your employee the chance to state his or her position. Perhaps the job performance issues involve other factors about which you know nothing. Of course, taking the time to attempt to improve the employee's performance is only useful when you believe improvement is possible.

When your concerns fall on deaf ears

No matter how hard you try, some employees simply won't or can't improve their job performance. Under these circumstances, progressively increasing disciplinary action through documentation and meetings may serve as a good first step.

As your folder of documented disciplinary actions for an employee fills up, you could approach the employee and determine whether he or she would prefer to quit. If so, you could require the employee to provide official notice as part of an exit plan.

If you simply can't wait, you could go ahead and terminate the employee while also providing some severance pay. Regardless of which road you take, document everything.

Protect yourself and your business

When you realize that your business relationship with an employee may be at its end, you may consider checking in with an employment law attorney to be sure that your actions satisfy any legal requirements that apply. Firing an employee is never a pleasant experience, but if it's done correctly, you can at least ensure you take the proper steps. If you fail to do so and end up facing a lawsuit from a former employee, you may need help with that as well.

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