96: Lessons From The Trenches – Employee Terminations

In this episode we share examples of terminations we’ve conducted and the lessons we learned from them.
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One of these terminations involved sex, drugs and rock & roll.

In this episode we share examples of terminations we’ve conducted and the lessons we learned from them.

For an unknown reason my audio goes alien on me at about 8 minutes into the show. I didn’t realize it until the editing process, and I could not figure out how to fix it.

I have no idea what happened – why it started out normal and then all the sudden went wacky. I hope it’s not too distracting.

1:14 – I tell you about an employee who was dropping the ball and covering it up. I did not provide adequate supervision and was led to believe that all was well. What made it difficult is that she was a super nice person who genuinely cared about the Company.

7:00 – Attridge tells us about a competent employee who would not create process documents to help cross-train other employees. She didn’t want any one else knowing how to do what she did.

She became very protective and thought the reason why Attridge wanted the documentation is so he could hire her replacement. That wasn’t the intent but her actions became a self-fulfillment of her prophecy.

She was an employee that we acquired through the purchase of a competitor and she was the owners right hand and ran the show. She worked great for the seller but she was a bad fit for a larger organization where her role was much more specific.

13:35 – Morley tells us about an employee, a manager, who was the administrator of the office football pool and he cheated by changing his picks so he would win.

17:15 – I tell you about a senior executive who was involved in sex, drugs and rock & roll. There were signs that we shouldn’t have hired him in the first place but I was desperate and figured based on his past success that his erratic behavior was a characteristic of the type of person who could do the job.

After four or five months of a disastrous relationship we had to let him go. He went quietly because he know he was a mess and he couldn’t deny his indiscretions.

23:00 – We tell you about the only termination in our 20+ year history that resulted in a discrimination claim. This involved someone who unfortunately had a medical issue surface.

We were very accommodating but the persons attitude become impossible to work with and we had to let her go. She sued under the ADA and we ultimately settled for a fairly small amount but not until after a not so small amount was spent on legal fees.

We should have done several things differently – better documentation and a more methodical approach to how we assisted her with paid time off and performance expectations.

29:45 – Attridge shares a news story of a termination where an IT employee made some changes to network admin passwords and when the employer tried to get him to help and he basically said hire me for $200k and I’ll help you.

The employer didn’t plan the termination very well if they gave him the chance to make the change post termination.

About the author, Thomas

I have 20 of years insurance industry experience in C-level management, focusing on all aspects of workers compensation, risk management, loss control, employee benefits, HR, payroll and professional employer organization (“PEO”) operations. Currently, I am the owner and CEO of Humanly HR, and founder and host of SmallBiz Brainiac; a podcast providing employer intelligence to small business owners.

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