I had interesting discussions with two different friends recently about terminating employment in December. In different conversations, both friends stated that they needed to terminate an employee, one for performance reasons, one due to a position elimination, and were going to wait until January because they did not want to terminate an employee in December. I have also heard of no terminations in December as corporate policies. Really? I’m actually a pretty nice person, but I can’t imagine how or why a business would justify postponing a business decision because of a holiday. You would not handle a contract or other business transaction that way.
What happens when you put off a business decision like this? The company loses money by extending employment of an under performing employee. When an action like this is delayed, all of the managers involved are stressed and uncomfortable around the employee. (How is that evoking the holiday spirit?)
Ok, so even if you understand the negative implications of waiting 5 weeks to process a business transaction, your boss still wants to be Mr. Nice Guy during the holiday. What are the options in this situation?
1. Terminate or lay off the employee now. Just rip off the band aid and ask for forgiveness later.
2. Wait 5 long weeks and avoid the employee completely during said 5 long weeks. Hope that the no one complains about their work or that they do not give you a Christmas gift. Then you will be a huge schmuck.
3. My personal recommendation - Let the employee know his or her status now. Your position will be eliminated by the end of the year. You may remain working through the end of the year with these clear expectations, or you may leave earlier if you choose. If you remain through this date, you will be offered severance. If you do not remain through the date or do not meet the clear expectations given, you will not receive severance. I will be flexible with your time during December so that you can interview for a new position, but you need to meet these clear expectations. That’s pretty fair, even for Mr. Nice Guy.