Firing staff members is stressful – which is why so many HR pros sometimes hurry the process along to get it over with. But that’s a big mistake.

If you don’t cross your t’s and dot your i’s before, during and after a termination, you’re setting yourself up for major problems down the line — including potential litigation from the worker you just let go.

So how do most companies get in trouble during the termination process?

Here are four ways HR pros consistently drop the ball when they fire someone, courtesy of the ManpowerGroup Employment Blawg:

  • They don’t explain why. If you’re looking to get sued, sugarcoat the reason you’re firing someone — or over-exaggerate. Either way, you’ll have a hard time pleading your case to a judge.
  • They ignore precedent. Consistency is key. If you’re new to the company, learn how the company has handled similar terminations in the past.
  • They don’t treat departing employees well. Just because you’re firing someone doesn’t mean you can’t treat them like a human being. It can only help your reputation if you treat a fired employee with dignity and respect. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.
  • They don’t fire at all. Sometimes the biggest termination issue you can face is not taking action. Dragging your feet in firing a poor performer kills morale.

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Nicole Bellow