Workzone: Clumsy Dismissals May Come Back to Bite You

September 8, 2013 – In The News
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jeffrey Polsky, Christina Stoneburner and David Garraux were quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article "Workzone: Clumsy Dismissals May Come Back to Bite You." While the full text can be found in the September 8, 2013, issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a synopsis is noted below.

When it comes to terminating an employee, there are certain things employers should avoid saying. Jeffrey Polsky has compiled a list of eight statements that employers have made that have gotten them into trouble.

The list includes telling an employee they are being fired because the organization needs to get rid of deadwood or that there’s too much gray hair around the office.

“I suppose these statements are slightly better than: ‘You’re too old.’ But only slightly,” Polsky says.

Also included in his list of things not to say when terminating an employee are telling them: It was the company’s decision but you disagreed with it; that they are being terminated for poor performance and that you probably should have pointed that out sooner; that firing them is hard on you, too; and that their complaint to a government agency cause the company to question their loyalty.

Christina Stoneburner added a ninth item: “Never say to an employee: ‘Think of how much more time you will now have to spend with the baby.’”

“It’s important to go in with a plan and give the employee a fair, straightforward explanation of what you’re doing,” said David Garraux.

If the employee is being fired for poor performance, that performance should be reflected in evaluations long before the termination, Polsky said.

“It can be very expensive to do this wrong and far less expensive to get some advice before you make these decisions,” Polsky said. “Larger employers have a bigger target on their back because they are deep pocketed defendants.”

This story was also featured in the Times Daily, Decatur Daily and Midlands Business Journal.