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How To Layoff an Employee


Laying-off an employee is not as simple as setting up a meeting with him and communicating your decision to let him go. Laying-off an employee must be approached as a step-by-step process in order not only to avoid unnecessary legal issues with the discharged employee but to maintain the integrity of the company and its management as well.

Here are some simple steps to consider in order to ensure a smooth laying-off process.

1. Make Sure That the Layoff Is Legal

Under the prohibited practices of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is illegal for any employment to make an employment decision, such as laying off an employee, on the basis of the employee’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. Make sure that your decision to layoff your employee is not because of any of the above mentioned reasons, before proceeding with the laying off process. Otherwise, you may be facing serious legal battles in the future.

2. Proper Layoff Notice

The layoff process takes time to ensure that proper notice to all the concerned parties is given. It is recommended that the initial layoff process begin at least six weeks before the official layoff notice is received by the employee. This gives the human resources department time to review whether the layoff is indeed necessary and if that particular employee should be retained or let go.

On the other hand, the employee must receive the official written notice of layoff at least thirty days before the last day of his employment.

3. Be Direct Yet Compassionate

It is not enough for employers to give the employee a written notice of termination. Shortly prior to or after receipt of the written notice of termination, management must meet with the employee, preferably in a team, in order to prevent a situation wherein an outburst of emotions of experienced.

It is important to deliver the news of the layoff to the employee in a clear and direct manner, using language that cannot be misinterpreted to mean anything other than a layoff. However, this directness must be balanced by having a compassionate tone of voice and manner, so as not to add to the feelings of inadequacy of the laid-off employee.

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