motorhaven - 2:50 pm on Oct 6, 2012 (gmt 0)
I've had to let several employees go over the years and learned some painful lessons about management.
Letting someone go on the spot, with no warnings, can be traumatic for the employee and myself. Sometimes they had no idea what I saw as a problem was a problem - and not warning them never gave them a chance to correct it. Obviously, if its gross misconduct such as stealing, verbally abusing a customer, etc. they are sent packing immediately.
Not taking decisive action (verbal and written warnings, plus letting them go ASAP after you've made the decision) costs me more on an emotional level and isn't fair to them either. It makes letting them go harder the longer you wait and drags the company down in the meantime. Depending on the situation I may or may not pay them out for 2 weeks pay.
When letting someone go I do not worry about how it impacts unemployment claims... small company and the rolling average of claims over 5 years is small. I have ethical issues with maneuvering a situation to screw them out of unemployment benefits. I let them go for the real reasons, have it documented and let the chips fall where they fall.
Ultimately, when dealing with a problem like this, I believe the golden rule applies. Other than gross misconduct... if I were the employee how would I like to be treated?
Lastly, I strongly recommend you pay for an hour's time with a local attorney specializing in employment law. You want to handle the situation both ethically (easy if you remember the golden rule) and legally.