A Guide to Terminating Employees

A Guide to Terminating Employees Globally 

There will come a time when you need to terminate an employee. It’s part of running a business. However, that does not mean it is going to be easy. Therefore, there are a lot of things that you need to consider.

In this article, we will delve into the acceptable reasons for termination as well as the potential pitfalls an employer can experience during termination. 

Terminating employees demands meticulous consideration, ensuring alignment with ethical standards and legal regulations. The following reasons are some of the many to give a guide for employee termination:

Incompetence (Poor Performance)

Employee incompetence or poor performance is a common reason for termination. It typically follows a series of warnings and interventions aimed at assisting the employee in performing their job duties more effectively. Incompetence is characterized by an inability to meet job expectations even with adequate support and guidance. This reason is well understood as long as you have given the employee the best that you can give, and they still do not deliver.

Theft and Unethical Behavior

Engaging in theft, whether it’s stealing office supplies or more significant assets like computers or cash, is a clear violation of ethical standards and often legal regulations. Any form of unethical behavior that compromises the integrity of the workplace can be grounds for termination.

Insubordination and Disruptive Behavior

Insubordination involves the refusal to follow instructions, often accompanied by aggressive or disagreeable language. Such behavior can negatively impact workplace culture and the comfort of colleagues. Disruptive conduct that hampers the smooth functioning of the organization can be grounds for termination.

Attendance Issues and Chronic Tardiness 

Consistent lateness or excessive absenteeism can disrupt workflow and impact the morale of the team. Employees who fail to adhere to the company’s attendance policies may find themselves facing termination, especially if their behavior imposes an undue burden on their colleagues.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a serious offense that warrants immediate attention. It includes unwelcome behavior, such as remarks or physical advancements. Failing to address and terminate an employee involved in sexual harassment can lead to legal consequences and damage the company’s reputation.

Sharing Confidential Information

Certain roles grant employees access to proprietary company information. Violating confidentiality agreements by sharing sensitive information with unauthorized individuals can lead to termination. This is especially critical in industries where protecting sensitive data is paramount.

Conflict of Interest

Ethical guidelines within employment contracts often touch upon conflict of interest. If an employee’s actions create a potential conflict with the company’s interests and a satisfactory resolution cannot be found, termination may be justifiable.

Mistake No. 1: Lack of Documentation

Documentation is vital in justifying employee termination. A lack of clear records can lead to legal challenges, emphasizing the importance of maintaining detailed personnel files. Proper documentation not only supports termination decisions but also serves as a tool to address performance issues beforehand.

Mistake No. 2: Lack of Preparation


Preparation is key when terminating an employee. It needs sufficient data and preparation for the conversation itself. Without this step, it can lead to confusion and heightened emotions for both parties. 

Mistake No. 3: Poor Timing of Termination

The timing of termination is crucial, as it can be perceived as retaliation for protected activities. Employers need to be aware of the temporal proximity between an employee’s protected activity and the termination, minimizing potential legal risks.

Mistake No. 4: Lack of Consistency

Consistency in treatment is essential to avoid claims of discrimination. Employers must treat employees engaging in similar misconduct or performance issues equally, ensuring a fair and non-discriminatory approach.

Mistake No. 5: Dishonest Communication

Avoiding honest communication during termination can lead to legal complications. Employers should address performance problems directly, fostering candid discussions to minimize the risk of legal claims.

Terminating employees globally requires a delicate balance between ethical considerations and legal obligations. 

From acceptable reasons for termination to potential pitfalls, employers must navigate the process thoroughly. Moreover, abiding by standards and laws creates a smooth termination process that decreases the chances of any mishaps. 

By addressing these aspects, employers can protect both their organizations and the dignity of the employees involved.

Global People is a leading local employment solutions provider for national and international corporations and can advise and escort you in your next destination.


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Global People aims to assist its clients to fully focus on their development and success in their target destinations without having to worry about the regulation and compliance involved in the employment of their local and expat employees.


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