Feb 26, 2016 09:38 AM EST

How To Legally Fire An Employee

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You cannot just fire an employee even if you have justifiable reasons. This is a tricky situation for an employer since there are laws that stipulate how it is done. You must be sure that you do it legally so that the exiting employee won't be able to charge you with illegal dismissal.

But don't be afraid of a former employee suing you in court. If you follow the steps discussed herein, your chances of being sued by a disgruntled former employee will be nil.

1. Make sure that your employment contract is clear and specific with regards to your power and limitations of firing an employee. The contract must also contain the essential elements defining the employee's responsibilities and the consequences if those responsibilities are not met.

2. Make sure that you give the employee reasonable notice

There is a law that requires a mandatory minimum notice period  of one week per year worked. However, some courts of law emphasize that this is only a minimum guideline used in determining the appropriate period of notice.

Factors that affect this period are the position of the employee, his length of service, his ability to find other work, his age, and so forth. During this notice period, you should still provide the employee the benefits that he is entitled to.

3. Make sure it is for a just cause

If the reason is a just cause, you can opt to fire him out without giving him due notice. However, it is very difficult to establish just cause, as the reason for dismissal since the burden of proof will be yours. But, to make it easier, you need to follow the necessary steps before dismissing your employee.

a)    When a problem arises, confront him and put it in writing

b)   Allow him time to explain

c)    Give him ample warning and chance to reform

d)   Give him instructions in writing that are clear and concise

e)    Check his performance record and appraisals

f)     Prepare all necessary company documents that will prove that he is not performing well.

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