The Do’s and Don’ts of Firing as a Small Business.

For a small business, having to fire someone is especially difficult. No matter the reasons for it, an employee termination will be upsetting for everyone. It’s important to know how to keep the situation polite and professional.

Firing someone is never easy, especially in a small business where the team is often closely knit. Here are some do’s and don’ts to navigate that difficult situation:


  1. Be Transparent: Clearly communicate the reasons for the termination. Honest and open communication can help the employee understand the situation, even if it’s tough.
  2. Document Performance Issues: Have a record of performance-related issues and attempts to address them. This documentation can serve as evidence if there are disputes later on.
  3. Choose a Private Setting: Respect the employee’s privacy by conducting the termination in a private and quiet location to minimize embarrassment.
  4. Be Respectful and Compassionate: Treat the employee with respect and empathy. Losing a job is a sensitive matter, and a compassionate approach can ease the emotional impact.
  5. Offer Assistance: If possible, provide resources or assistance to help the employee transition, such as information on job search resources or severance packages.


  1. Don’t Delay the Decision: Once you’ve made the decision, don’t procrastinate. Delays can increase stress and anxiety for both the employee and the team.
  2. Avoid Ambiguity: Clearly state the reasons for termination. Vague explanations can lead to confusion and potential legal issues.
  3. Avoid Emotional Outbursts: Keep your emotions in check during the termination meeting. Emotional outbursts can escalate the situation and damage relationships with other team members.
  4. Don’t Blame Others: Avoid placing blame on colleagues or other external factors. Focus on the employee’s performance and the reasons for the termination.
  5. Don’t Skip Legal Considerations: Understand and adhere to employment laws and regulations. Skipping legal considerations can lead to legal consequences for your business.

Remember, firing an employee is challenging, but handling it with professionalism and empathy can minimize negative impacts on both the departing employee and the rest of your team.

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