Q: Can you tell me some things to avoid when firing an employee?

A: You can fire anyone at any time for any reason or no reason. This is what employment-at-will is all about. Most employers, however, try to take the easiest course. And usually, that is no action – avoidance. They hope things will improve. If things do not improve, here are five things to keep in mind.

1) Do not react – plan. Avoid reacting on an emotional basis. Instead, look at documentation and plan.

2) Avoidance is failing to do what you know you should do. If the employee is hurting morale and making life miserable for everyone, it is time for that employee to go.

3) Have witnesses. Make sure someone else is present for all interactions with an employee when you are considering disciplinary action. You want to avoid the “he said-she said” situation.

4) Look at outplacement. Most employers do not want to pay the money required for outplacement. But the quicker that bad employee gets a job, the better the legal outlook is for you.

5) Being proactive is important for your bottom line. Keep in mind that legal expenses to defend a wrongful termination claim can cost a great deal of money.