Sense and Sensibility: In case of termination

Non performance, disciplinary issues, company in loss, behavioral issues or just ‘want to get rid of someone’…terminating employees has become a trend in the companies, as the patience level goes down, the rate of termination goes high. And sometimes, no matter how afraid we get of  terminating an employee, even when it is an absolute requirement, we pass the buck by saying lets give them a chance…but understanding when and where to give a fair chance is a complicated method, although we all work on our instincts, still it is a matter of someone’s career or may be their bread and butter….Hence why not think before we take such a step, here is a write up to work on our sense and sensibilities to guide Our Gen next to empathize with their employees, where and how.

There was a query on the forum a few days back, that one of the senior level employees had been accused of sexual harassment by 3 female employees, and still the company did not take any action and just let him go with a warning and counseling, no enquiries initiated, no written explanation…And what will be the position of the three female employees now…no one considered that.

Generally with sexual harassment the standard is if you know or have known that the conduct was occurring, you need to take immediate and appropriate corrective action to make it stop. Even termination of the employee can be considered if the proper process is being followed, as mentioned in the law and company policy.

A lot of times we have seen Managers bury their actions as they are scared of legal complications, massive settlements, or claims of wrongful termination and yes, why not if you are not properly prepared and not thinking smartly, you have all the reasons to be scared.

What makes sense??

Company policy on Termination: A clear cut, well defined policy speaks louder than any claim that an employee makes, a Smart HR professional is always proactive in designing the policies and procedures in order to avoid getting in to such law suits or other complications. If there are any amendments, make sure to announce and update, a slight mistake can cause several millions to the company.

The procedure Implementation: No matter how small or big the mistake is, in case of any kind of misconduct, the entire procedure needs to be followed in a proper manner with documentation as and when required. I know of an instance, where one female member was asked to leave on disciplinary grounds as she was caught stealing something, the Manager let her go after a warning (verbal), and then after a few days she accused the same manager of harassing her.

Maintain consistency: Same misconduct, similar issues and if earlier you bid good bye to one of the employees, then for the next one also you have to do the same. As a general rule, an employer’s response to a particular problem should be consistent with its policies and responses to prior, comparable situations. Bias, opinions and judgments always create an un-proportionate hatred in the organization and then the wrong message follows and it creates an unhealthy grapevine. Hence it becomes empirical to standardize the level of punishments and reprisals especially when the nature of problem is the same.

Do not postpone the decision: Once the enquiry is over, and the process is at the finishing stage, it is advisable to take the decision of termination at the earliest; prolonging it may unnecessary cause trouble and give birth to rumor mongers in the company. Such rumors can play havoc and the situation could go out of hand. The rumor mill then creates many such questions which can easily be avoided if handled at the right stage.

Alacrity in valediction: Do not rush; do not jump to conclusion, just flow with the stride and let the gust settle, once things are clearer and cleaner then decide what is appropriate. Sometimes no matter how much we avoid, and demand a resignation instead of termination, I feel teaching a lesson to some becomes pragmatic. Although there are no guarantees, that the lessons are learnt with such actions, still we can always create an example for the others to not follow the same path of destruction.

Pay Severance if promised: If the word severance is mentioned in any policy and document, pay it up; because taking chances with “the woebegone employees” often results in uncalled legal tensions, when they could be evaded with elegance. What should be done is paying those employees their one or two month salary rather than redundant trips to courts which waste time.

Sensibility makes sense when we create proper measures to handle our most important assets- human resource. They need to be sent off with dignity unless of course it is not at all important. The sensibilities once shown will always be remembered by people deep down and companies will be respected for that.

So, give them a chance if you can, or show them the golden gate from where they entered the mansion of their dreams – their workplace, if they can respect it they cannot breathe inside it…J


  •  Awesome !!!!! Loved it :)

  • R Dhamotharan

     The article is appropriate to the current global environment where “hire & fire” policy is practiced regularly. At the same time, wrong doers can not be allowed to go free just like that as this may encourage others to follow.

  • Vaidya Keshav

    “……….. terminating employees has become a trend in the companies.”

    good case for filing criminal case under section 302. 

    sorry …just for sense of humour.
    when you use the word terminate, hard and fast you must write the subject (not names)
    eg> terminate the contract;  terminate his services etc.
     terminate him means murder him
    Hope understood.
    Pl read know your English on all Tuesdays in the Hindu

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Nabomita….:)  

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Second your thoughts, wrong doers need not be saved and when required we should terminate them and not ask for resignations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us….:)  

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Mr. Keshav..termination in any English dictionary has three meanings:  
    1.a coming to an end of a contract period; 2.a place where something ends or is complete; 3.the act of ending something….and none of them says anything about murdering anyone…. Hope you understood what i meant with the word termination in the entire article. Just FYI, I have written two articles for HIndu also…..thanks for taking out your time and making such efforts….

  • Samina


    thanx for sharing such a nice article :)

    Samina Hassan.

  • Dennis

    dennis john (dj)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Samina….you always have good things to say about our efforts…I’m so glad…God bless you…:) 

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks @380e52a3741463dab88a29d2d57f60c8:disqus  …. ….

  • Nimai Sinha

    HR manager should be smart enough to know the quality of each employee, must prepare a history sheet of each one of them and deal with them accordingly. While uniformity is desirable, exceptions can be useful if done judiciously. In today’s world where hire and fire come so easily, a little bit of professional diplomacy can do no harm to the company.

  • Sonali

    indeed a gr8 piece of info Ma’am. iam an aspiring HR professional. Loooking frwrd for your guidance and such articles 

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hello Mr. Sinha… I endorse your thought of professional diplomacy till the time its not used for the benefits of just self…very nicely contributed…thanks a lot for pouring your views here..keep sharing!!

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hey Sonali….Thanks so much dear that it is of some use to you all…..We are obliged to provide any further help we all can….Keep sharing and reading!! All the best 

  • Ahmad Maqsood

    Dear Archana,
    i found your article very informative and worth reading to follow.


  • K S Shetty

    Good article written with full maturity. Thanks for sharing in the forum. 

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks so much Ahmad….such appreciation pays for our effort…:) keep reading and sharing your experiences with us… 

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you Mr. Shetty…..I’m glad you all liked it..our efforts are paid by such appreciation….

    Keep sharing your experiences so that we also learn from you all… 

  • Dilu

    Sensibility makes sense when we create proper measures to handle our most important assets- human resource. They need to be sent off with dignity unless of course it is not at all important. The sensibilities once shown will always be remembered by people deep down and companies will be respected for that. ”
    People at TCS should follow this. I was a victim of failed background check and was terminated in 2008. Still struggling to get a decent job.