It is never a good thing when you have to let an employee go. Whether it’s due to an underwhelming performance or they are just not the right fit for the job, it’s a process that nobody looks forward to.

When it comes to letting someone know that they will no longer work for your company, there a few things you need to consider. If handled in a poor manner, dismissals could turn into serious cases and could potentially land you in some hot water.

As always, we are here to help and we’ve outlined all the steps to successfully letting somebody go without exposing yourself to any potential lawsuits.

Why Are You Considering Letting Them Go?

Before you make the decision to dismiss an employee, you need to consider the reasons behind it.

Is this person under-performing at their job? Are they not meeting the requirements of the business? Do they conduct themselves in a manner that is not acceptable with the company’s standards?

These are all valid reasons to question an employee’s future, but you shouldn’t always be too quick when deciding to fire them. Sometimes you just know when a person isn’t right for the job, but some people just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Employees are only human after all, and mistakes can be made from time to time. But if this is a regular occurrence, then it is time to start looking at the root of the problem.

If you can’t see the employee changing to fit what you need, then you should use their probationary period wisely. Most employee probations will last around 3 months and will give you the chance to get an idea on whether or not your new employee is a good match or not.

If you are spotting lots of errors early on, then it is probably best to get rid of sooner rather than later. Once the 3 months pass, it makes it much harder to fairly dismiss an employee, so keep that in mind.

If you still think an employee can improve, then give them another chance to keep the job. Before making any rational decisions, it is important to highlight what isn’t working and arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss their future with the company.

Setting Up A Meeting To Discuss Performance & Potential Dismissal

Once you’ve noticed that your employee isn’t performing as well as you’d like, you need to arrange a meeting to voice your concerns.

By staging a sit down meeting with the employee, it allows you to tell them you are not pleased with their current performance and gives them a chance to take notes and change their approach to work.

When talking with the employee, it is important that you clearly highlight the areas that they are struggling in and tell them exactly what they need to do to improve. You need to make the ramifications for failing to improve clear as well, making sure they know that they were be terminated if they do not get better.

By giving targeting specific areas, you are giving clear reasons towards their potential dismissal and avoiding anything that could be taken as discrimination.

Monitoring Their Performance Going Forward

After the first meeting, you should be keeping a close eye on your employee’s performance over the next few weeks.

If an employee is serious about keeping their job, then you should notice an improvement straight away. Allow the employee a couple of weeks to try and meet the company standards before making your final decision, and let them come to you with any issues they are facing.

Once time is up and you haven’t seen an improvement, it’s time to unfortunately tell the employee the bad news.

Breaking The News & Dismissing The Employee

Letting an employee go is serious business, and should be dealt with accordingly. Employers should always follow the statutory procedures when dealing with employee dismissals.

If an employee has been with the company less than 2 years, you don’t have to follow these procedures but Wurkplace recommend you follow them anyway.

When sitting down with the person, you need to confirm you are going to be terminating their contract unless a reason prevails and this should be done in writing. This should also include the reasons behind the dismissal and invite them to another meeting to respond and give them the right to appeal to your decision.

As we’ve stated, stating clear reasons for their dismissal will protect you against any discrimination claims and giving them the right to appeal shows you are following a fair procedure. Employees should be allowed 5 days to come up with an appeal to their termination and a second meeting should be held.

After holding a second meeting, you are able to dismiss the employee without exposing yourself to any potential lawsuits. If you have followed these procedures, then the employee cannot argue that you haven’t followed a fair process.

What Counts As A “Fair” And “Unfair” Dismissal?

The reasons for letting someone go are the most important part of the dismissal process. It is crucial that you have sufficient motives for getting rid of someone and that you know the difference between a “fair” and “unfair” dismissal.


• An employee’s conduct.
• An employee’s capability and/or qualifications.
• An employee is being made redundant.
• An employee is no longer able to continue with their position.


• An employee is pregnant or anything surrounding maternity.
• An employee having time off due to family reasons.
• An employee is dismissed because of gender, race, age or sexuality.

Firing somebody using an unfair reason will leave you open to lawsuits and should definitely be avoided at all costs. If you are letting someone go, make sure it is for the right reasons and avoid getting yourself into trouble.

If you’d like to know more information about what counts as fair and unfair dismissals, then get in touch today.

Dealing With The Fallout

Whenever an employee is terminated from the company, it can often create a different and potentially hostile environment in the workplace, so it is important to address the issue quickly.

Whilst the reasons for the ex-employee’s firing should be kept confidential, it should be known that they were let go for reasons that do not affect the other employees and their jobs are safe. Letting everyone know that his or her jobs are not under fire will ease the workplace and things should return back to normal shortly after.

You will also need to start looking at hiring somebody to replace the employee. If you need some tips on ensuring a successful recruitment process, then we’ve got you covered.


Dismissing an employee is never an easy process, but sometimes it has to be done. If you’ve followed these steps, then you should be able to successfully dismiss someone without any issues.

If you want to know more or would like to speak to one of our HR professionals, then get in touch today and let us know how we can help you.

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