Reducing The Risks Of Employee Termination: Part 3 — How EAPs Can Help

Reducing The Risks Of Employee Termination: Part 3 — How EAPs Can Help

Do you have an employee who is struggling with performance? If you find that you’ve taken official steps and gone through your company’s documented process of corrective action, but have not seen positive results, the next step in the process doesn’t have to be termination.

At times, there may be extenuating circumstances in an employee’s personal life that could negatively affect their work. In this case, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be a great resource. Supervisors should remind employees of this service at any time during the supervisor/employee relationship.

If an otherwise “good employee” suddenly has changed in their performance, attendance or other behavior, a supervisor might be able to help the employee early on by referring them to the company’s EAP. Assistance from the EAP may alleviate any further correction needed, and can ultimately help you keep a good employee, thus alleviating the additional costs of recruitment, onboarding and training of a replacement.

However, If the second-level warning or suspension step is reached in the corrective action, the supervisor may choose to make a mandatory EAP referral if appropriate. It is important to note that the EAP is part of the support network that exists to assist in the various stages of corrective action and is available to every employee.

The Final Steps Of Termination

Termination of employment is the final action when all other appropriate steps have failed to achieve the desired improvements. In addition to the guidelines covered in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, there are additional considerations when the termination of an employee becomes necessary. For example, human resources is responsible for scheduling an exit interview with a terminating employee on the employee’s last day.

Tips For An Effective Exit Interview:

  • Human resources should hold the meeting in a private conference room or office
  • It is advisable to have a witness present and/or security personnel on standby during the termination meeting
  • Obtain information from human resources in advance concerning such issues as benefits, insurance and final pay
  • Confirm the employee’s current address and telephone number
  • Collect all company property in the employee’s possession (e.g., keys, ID card, parking permit and access card, gate opener, pagers, cell phones, tools, manuals, company credit card, laptop, etc.)

Post-Termination Procedures

After you’ve completed the exit interview, you’ll also want to ensure that you cover the following items with the employee.

Personal Belongings

Ensure that any belongings the employee has on-site are returned to them. A supervisor can pack up the belongings and bring them to the employee after the exit interview so that they have them upon departure. Another option, if the employee has many items in their work area, is to give them the items they need in order to leave (e.g., coat/jacket, purse, personal briefcase) and then ship the rest within a week at the company’s expense.

Benefits

Benefits (life, medical, and dental) end on the individual’s last day of employment or last day of the month in which the last day of employment falls. Unless dismissed for gross misconduct, an employee also has the option to convert to individual life insurance, and/or to continue medical/dental benefits in accordance with Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) regulations.

Final Paycheck

Make sure you verify the address where you should send the employee’s last paycheck and inform them when they can expect to receive this payment. Address any costs which may be deducted from their pay, such as failure to return company property (keys, computer items, etc.)

Note: Some states require accelerated payment or authorization for any deductions of an employee’s final paycheck. Employers should contact their attorney or check state regulations for specific details.

Retirement Plan

In order to receive a disbursement of any amounts due from the retirement plan, the employee is required to complete and sign a distribution form and submit it to the human resources department. If an employee is on the retirement plan, information regarding this plan should be provided at the exit interview.

No one looks forward to having to make a termination, but by following official and defined steps, you can help make the process go smoother.

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