Sample Firing Dialogue

This afternoon I am delivering a two-hour professional development training on Eliminating Unacceptable Employee Performance. One of my attendees emailed the following question ahead of the training.

 “I hate having to terminate an employee, but sometimes that is the only option. Do you have guidelines on how to structure and hold the termination conversation? I find myself getting emotional and rambling during these discussions.”

 I put together this script in response to my attendee’s question and I’m sharing it here because I know my attendee is not alone.

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Manager:  Lynn, please have a seat.

Lynn: Thank you.

Manager:  Lynn, I know that you have tried hard to succeed at your job. Nonetheless, for some months now, your attendance has not been acceptable. You come in late to work on a regular basis and you have had three unexcused absences in the last 90 days. Your tardiness and unexcused absences are unacceptable and result in slower response to our customers because when you’re not here we don’t have adequate phone coverage. We cannot retain you in this position and we must let you go.

Lynn: You mean, I’m fired?

Manager:  Yes, that is correct. I am very sorry that this did not work out.

Lynn: I need this job. I am a single mother and I have to work. Give me another chance. I deserve a second chance.

Manager:  Lynn, we have given you at least two written warnings and several verbal warnings.

Lynn: But my supervisor says my attendance has improved.

Manager:  While the frequency of tardies has decreased, the number of tardies and unexcused absences is still not acceptable. I know you have tried . . . but it’s still not working out.

Lynn: What about another shift? I have a hard time getting to work at 7:30am with three kids. How about a shift where I come in at 8:00 or 9:00 or maybe I could go to a four day a week schedule? 

Manager: Lynn, my decision is final. We all like you here. This is truly a difficult decision for all of us. We wish you success wherever your career takes you.