10 legal mistakes HR makes when firing an employee

It has to be one of the most harrowing and uncomfortable duties an HR leader most master

10 legal mistakes HR makes when firing an employee

How do you fire an employee? It has to be one of the most harrowing and uncomfortable duties an HR leader most master. But, if it’s the only viable option left, then it’s the best course of action – for both parties involved.

And, whilst making the decision to terminate the worker is difficult in itself, the tricky bit is perfecting the firing. You can enter into that scenario with all the best intentions and still manage to mess it up – devastating the employee and potentially leaving yourself open to a lawsuit.

We spoke to Natalie C. MacDonald, owner of the Toronto boutique law firm MacDonald & Associates and speaker at HRD Canada’s upcoming webinar – You’re Fired! The legal issues. She recounted the top 10 mistakes employers make when it comes to firing a member of their staff.

We’ve listed them below;

  1. Leaping before looking. Many employers will jump to a conclusion that they have just cause to terminate the employee, when, in fact, had they paused, and assessed the context, they would understand that they did not.
  2. Failing to have assessed the individual employee’s circumstances. For example, understanding who the employee is, and how he or she came to be with the organization.
  3. Providing an unfair and unreasonable period of reasonable notice for the employee.
  4. Mistakes in the actual termination letter. Forgetting to continue all benefits during the statutory notice period pursuant to the Employment Standard’s Act, 2000, amongst others.
  5. Drawing out the termination meeting – instead of being clear with the employee that they are being terminated, and then providing the severance package, the employer gets into the reasons for the termination.
  6. Having someone stand over an employee while they pack their things (unless there is an issue of trust).
  7. Failing to adhere to what the employer advised it would do in the termination letter.
  8. Not including the Full and Final Release – or failing to include the pertinent clause pertaining to human rights, which will assist the employer in avoiding any potential liability in that regard.
  9. Cutting off benefits or salary despite not receiving the release in the case of a long-term employee.
  10. Generally, doing anything may make the termination much more difficult than need be.



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