Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

How to fire employees with a bad attitude

Many employees excel in creating positive motivation and a desire for success at work. However, some employees create a negative vibe through their bad behaviour. Unfortunately, managers must terminate these employees who continue their poor behaviour in order to foster employee motivation and high workplace morale. Knowing how to terminate an employee can prove helpful to ensure that you are treating him fairly.

Create a list of what behaviours and problems the employee has demonstrated and how his poor attitude has affected others and overall production. Write down a list of several reasons why his poor attitude must stop and the ways others involved would benefit.

Discuss the attitude problem with the employee. Share your list with the employee without being confrontational. Try to determine what the cause of the poor attitude problem is by listening intently to the reasons the employee offers.

Give the employee an oral or written warning. Make it clear that his poor attitude is unacceptable and if continued will result in his being fired. Discuss solutions to the problems and how to seek a resolution. Let the employee knows that his poor attitude not only affects his work, but also the work of his co-workers and the overall business.

Document the conversation to use as a reference if another meeting is required. Include this information in the employee's human resources folder with all relevant facts. That way if the employee refutes the discussion you had regarding his poor attitude or the warning he was given, you will have evidence to back up the claim.

Refer to the employee's human resources folder if his poor attitude continues. Read the folder before scheduling a termination interview with the employee. That way you can refer to prior incidents involving his poor attitude and present a timeline that documents any previous conversations involving the issue. Be prepared for an unpleasant meeting with the employee.

Change any passwords that provide access to financial records or sensitive material. Make sure the employee cannot do anything that could harm the business once he learns he has been fired.

Arrange for the employee to meet you in your office, a conference room or a private area in the workplace. Explain to the employee the reason for being fired and why no further recourse is available to resolve his poor attitude problem. Have the employee's human resources file available for reference. Be prepared to present specific data to support your decision. Such data might include a report of the incidents where he demonstrated a poor attitude that negatively affected others. Remind him of the consequences you discussed in your earlier meeting.

Explain details of insurance benefits, unemployment options and final paycheck. Have the employee pack up his belongings and leave the premises. Even though the employee demonstrated a poor attitude, you should still treat him with respect and courtesy.


Ask a supervisor or manager to join you during the termination interview if you don't feel comfortable being alone with the employee. Avoid discussing details with the employee's co-workers as to why he was fired.

About the Author

Aubrey Warshaw has experience working in federal, state and local levels of government. He has a Master of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Warshaw's written work includes policy briefs for a 9-12 institution, letters to constituents and various reports involving policy issues such as education and poverty.

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