How (and how not to) get someone fired

How (and how not to) get someone fired

We’ve all had those co-workers who somehow drove us crazy or made work a less than desirable place. But sometimes a person can make the workplace so unbearable that you want them fired.

Read below for tips on what to do if you’re about to fire someone – and what you can do instead.

Reflect on the situation

Before trying to fire someone, take some time to think about the situation. Ask yourself why you want this person fired. Do you just find the person boring? If the problem is personal – say you just find the person unpleasant or you feel like they don’t like you – it’s not a dismissable offense. You may just have to learn to live with it in your job.

On the other hand, if someone is creating a hostile work environment or interfering with the work of others, it can be a bigger problem and even a fire hazard.

talk to the person

If it’s safe to do this and you can’t ignore or live with the problem, try talking it over with the person first. In the event of serious issues such as a hostile work environment, for example, it may of course make more sense to raise your concerns directly with your manager or Human Resources (HR).

Tell the person what the problem is, explain how it affects you (and/or other colleagues) and ask them to help you find a solution.

For example, if a co-worker is late for group meetings, brush them off and explain how that affects your whole group. Explain that this person needs to be on time so you can all be productive together.

If more than one person finds the problem problematic, ask one or two other people to come with you and talk to your colleague. Keep the group small so your colleague doesn’t feel offended. But having more than one person shows the colleague that it’s not just your personal problem with them.

Go see your manager

If you talk to the person and nothing changes (or if you think raising the issue with them might lead to hostility), consider talking to your boss. Here are some tips on how to tell your boss about a colleague you think should be fired:

Meet in person. Make an appointment to personally discuss this topic with your boss. Try to arrange the time in advance so you don’t surprise your boss at the wrong time. Remove all emotions. You don’t want to sound like you’re complaining about this person.

Instead, calmly explain how the person is causing a problem at work, not for you personally, but for the company. Does his regular lateness lead to missed group meetings? Does his offensive language bother customers? Focus less on your emotions and more on the larger implications of the person’s actions. Give examples.

Try to give specific examples where the person you are talking about behaves in the way you are describing. This may require documenting that person’s behavior a few days or weeks before your meeting. Record the date, time, and details of specific events in your documentation.

But keep your examples concise – you don’t want to spend hours complaining to your boss about this person. Mention others (if allowed). If co-workers have told you that this person’s actions or behavior bother them as well, ask those co-workers if you can mention their names in the meeting.

This gives your claim more credibility. However, do not mention other people unless they give you permission. Focus on solutions. Don’t ask your boss to fire this person. Instead, ask for help to fix the problem.

For example, you might say, “Can you help me find ways to work with colleague X to solve the problem of her being late for our group meetings?” When your employer asks you what you think they should do, you can speak your mind.

However, remember that you cannot force your employer to fire someone – it depends on the employer.

Focus on yourself

Once you meet your boss, try to drop the issue. Trust your employer to take care of the issue and know that ultimately they will decide whether or not the person should be fired.

If the person doesn’t get fired, do your best to focus on your own work and don’t let their habits or behavior distract you. If the person doesn’t get fired and you feel like you can’t continue working with them, consider whether or not you should quit.

When it can’t wait

Of course there are times when things have to be done quickly. For example, if the person threatens your safety or the safety of others, you must notify your manager immediately.

If the person is doing something illegal (including harassing or discriminating against you or others), consider speaking directly to your company’s human resources (HR) department. Before meeting in person with a Human Resources representative, email Human Resources to create a paper trail (which can be helpful if you need to take legal action).

If the person you want to fire is your manager, you will need to contact either your boss’s boss or Human Resources.

However, think twice about whether you’re just angry with your boss or whether you think he or she is really undermining the business (or breaking the law). If you just find it boring, you may need to keep your worries to yourself.

 

How (and how not to) get someone fired

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