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Best way to terminate an employee?

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  • Best way to terminate an employee?

    I am an employer in the state of Colorado of a small company. I have only 5 employees.

    For several months, 1 employee relishes in any way they can to belittle, disrespect, and use malice in their response to my every statement, question and decision. They go as far as making dramatic physical gestures in showing displeasure and disapproval of all I say and do. This may sound a bit trivial, but it is beyond anything I've witnessed in working with over 500 co-workers over my life. It is what this person lives for and takes delight in, in 80% of our verbal exchanges. It causes discord in our small office.

    If it even matters, I am a fair employer and have given this person raises and praised them often for their work, as this person is good at their job. I am now at a place where I want to terminate this employee. I have spoken to one person I trust, regarding this situation; one who knows this person. They asked if I have informed the employee of this inappropriate behavior. I have not. The reason this is, is that I know this employee is incapable of change. I do believe that people are capable of change, but I know this person well enough, that it is not possible. It is beginning to eat at me now, (physically and emotionally) every time this employee arrives at work and begins their day - set on disrespecting me.
    I now just want to terminate them. I have kept some records of certain instances of actions and deeds of this person.

    What is the best way to terminate said employee? Is Colorado an 'at will' state? Other than their application form, we have no written agreement. Nor, are there specific terms defining this person's job, or contractual agreements. What specific things do I need to do? I have never terminated anyone.
    Last edited by a_ashford; 12-23-2007, 06:20 PM.

  • #2
    You can terminate the employee in anyway, anytime, & for any reason except a reason protected by law (ie age, gender, religion) or unless there is an employment contract to the contrary. The protections & contract do not seem to apply to this employee - go ahead & terminate them. (inappropriate behavior)

    It is always best though to have write ups/records in their file as to the reasons leading up to the termination.

    P.S. If you have any other specific questions, please let us know. (Co. - if you terminate an employee, you must pay all unpaid wages immediately- also accrued & unused vacation days are considered wages under the Wage Claim Act & are due & payable on separation from employment.)
    Last edited by Betty3; 12-23-2007, 06:33 PM.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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    • #3
      Term' away!

      CO is most definetly an at-will state. No need to do it in person, you can do it over the phone if you want. Don't get drawn into any arguments and keep it impersonal. A simple "Your services are no longer needed" would do. Make arrangements for him to get his last paycheck and personal effects (I'd have it all packed up before hand). If you have him come to the office do it at a time when you are not alone and where no clients are around.

      Before you term, think about any non-compete, non-solicitation issues you might have.


      Extra points if you terminate him in the next two days.

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      • #4
        Agreed.

        I will also say that don't let yourself be dragged into an argument.

        Make it short and sweet -

        "your services are no longer required. Here is the list of things I want you to leave with me today. Here is your last check and the documentation for the amount.

        You will be receiving COBRA information in the next 45 days. You and I will now walk back to your desk to both collect your company equipment and collect your personal belongings."

        Make sure that any corporate accounts/credit cards/network access/etc. is all turned off immediately after the meeting.
        Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

        I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

        Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cyjeff View Post
          You will be receiving COBRA information in the next 45 days.
          cyjeff - would COBRA apply since there are less than 20 employees (5)? Betty
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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          • #6
            COBRA wouldn't but CO state continuation would.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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            • #7
              Sorry folks... good catch.

              It wouldn't be COBRA, it would be whatever the CO legislature calls it this year.
              Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

              I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

              Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

              Comment


              • #8
                cbg - thanks; I forgot about the Co. state health ins. continuation plan or I would have mentioned it. If my info is correct, applies to all employers who offer group health ins., employees continuously insured for previous 6 months, length of coverage 18 mos., employer must notify employee of continuation right within 10 days of termination, and employee has 30 days after termination to apply (60 days if employer fails to give notice).

                Colo. Rev. Stat. 10-16-108
                Last edited by Betty3; 12-24-2007, 03:48 PM. Reason: add statute
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                Comment


                • #9
                  thank you for advice
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