Make personnel changes

Organizational changes can be challenging. We can help.
Characters Remaining: 600

Rocket Lawyer On Call® Attorney

Make personnel changes FAQs

Make personnel changes

Personnel changes include hiring and firing as well as promotions, organizational changes, voluntary quits, mass layoffs and acquisitions. Handling these situations can be challenging for small business owners without an HR department. It's prudent to research HR practices as well as legal requirements before making personnel changes.

Do I need to provide an Employment Contract?

Most employers provide an Employment Contract even if it is simple as relating what job they are hired to do and how much they will be paid. They are two-sided agreements, so the employee's part is agreeing to do the job for the pay offered. You should create a simple one for all employees and perhaps more complex contracts for C-Level employees who may have performance goals tied in with their salary.

What you want to usually avoid is providing an Employment Contract that may put you in a sticky situation later. You should avoid verbally or written any implied promise of long-term employment. You'll also want to make it enduring so you don't have to change it every time your company makes a policy change.

What should be included in a Termination Letter?

A Termination Letter is not always required but it is a good way to document a termination. If your company is an at-will, or right to work, state you can let employees go without cause. You do not have to state a reason for termination in those states, but you can. If the employee is being fired because of performance or attendance issues, you'll want to state that along with the associated company policies and a record of their warnings and missed days of work if applicable.

Additional information to include in a Termination Letter:

  • A list of items to be returned to the company-owned property such as laptops, mobile phones, credit cards, tools or vehicles.
  • A detailed explanation of what will be paid to the former employee such as vacation time and the final paycheck.
  • Information about their health care insurance, if applicable. Let them know when their insurance will expire, how many additional months you may pay for them, and how to apply for COBRA.

I've never fired anyone before, how do I fire an employee?

Firing someone is always difficult. Often you may genuinely like the person, they may have a family to support, or they are a friend making the task more difficult. Most employment professionals recommend that, at the minimum, let them go in-person. Even if you are uncomfortable, don't fire them by email, phone or text. Schedule a time to do it in person. Make sure to plan how to block their access to the building, company accounts and technology in advance.

Tips for terminating employees:

  • Document every warning including verbal warnings.
  • Have another person, such as a co-owner or manager in the room with you when you have the termination conversation.
  • Plan the termination conversation in advance and try to keep it as short as possible.
  • Make arrangements for them to collect their things privately or ship their items to them.
  • Carefully plan what you intend to tell the remaining employees.
  • Make sure you have their current mailing address for sending their last check or other documents.
  • If the situation is complicated, discuss your legal responsibilities with an employment lawyer or human resource consultant.