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Terminating an employee is a stressful experience regardless of the circumstances. While firing is a fact of life for most enterprises, layoffs are far less common and far more unsettling. No matter the circumstances, terminations should be handled with sensitivity and dignity while still protecting the enterprise’s legal position.

Two Reasons to Terminate

Terminations typically take place for two reasons:

  • Poor performance or poor attitude. Firings are infrequent and are often a long time in coming. In fact, some would argue that they don’t happen frequently or quickly enough. Those left behind often benefit from the dismissal in the long run since the source of poor productivity or low morale is removed.
  • Downsizing. This can include mass layoffs or elimination of just one individual due to redundancy. Layoffs seem more sudden than firings since they are not telegraphed in advance by long-standing poor performance. Remaining employees may begin to fear for their jobs as well.

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