It is never an easy job for any employer to relieve an employee of his or her duties. This is a difficult subject to deal with. Even scenarios where the separations are amicable can be difficult and anxious. But, when the inevitable happens, there are certain things that the employer should do.
Decide “For Cause” or “With out cause”
It is for the employer to decide if the termination is a “for cause” or “without cause “. As a matter of fact, most terminations that happen in Canada are “without cause”, mostly because the Canadian courts’ threshold is difficult to meet for the “for cause” clause. Also, for organisations, it is generally much cheaper to pay a modest package to the employee, than to go through the court proceedings, where the organisation will have to prove why the employee was not fit or was incapable of meeting certain expectations. Make sure that the contractual provisions are being met when terminating the employee.
Draft the termination letter
If you go with the “without cause” termination, then it is very important that you prepare a termination letter that makes it clear when the employment relationship will be terminated, and mentions the date by when it will be over. Assuming you decide it is a “without cause” termination, prepare a termination letter that sets out very clearly that the employment relationship will be over on a specified date. The Alberta Employment Standards Code makes it mandatory for employers to provide notice of intention to terminate employment in writing. Also, it is important that it is made it very clear from when the termination is effective.
Meet with the employee
Make sure that the termination happens in person and in a discrete area where no one else is present. It is advisable to prepare a brief script and be prepared to answer questions related to the termination. Also, it is possible that you might not be able to answer the question to the employee’s satisfaction. It is understood that no one is really ever ready to hear that they are incompetent and are just not as good as their counterparts, despite putting in their best foot forward. It helps to be honest, but keep it brief to make it very clear that the decision is final. Hand the termination letter over to them for review.
Protect your electronic data
Consult your technology team to ensure that all of the organisation’s important data with the employee has been captured and stored, as you never know how the employee might react after being terminated. This includes the employee’s emails and other important data on the server to which the employee would be having access. It is also important that you request and review any work related information that the employee might be having on devices issued by the company, like laptops, phones, etc.
Release the employee
If, as an employer, you are offering anything that is above the Employment Standards Act, then make sure that you ask the employee to sign a release in exchange of the amount you are offering. Employers are liable to give the the statutory amounts, but anything above and beyond that is considered as discretionary. And, this is something for which the employer can ask for a release from all future liability that arises out of the employment relationship.
Terminations are an inevitable part for any growing business, even if the leadership wants to keep the best interest of the employees. Irrespective of how it might look, at times even the employee might be better suited for another organisation and will be able to maximise his potential somewhere else. For more information, related to The Employment Act and help with drafting a termination letter, get in touch with Prowse Chowne.