Are Warnings Required Before Firing?

Question:

I have been in a job for about a year would they have to give warnings before sacking me?

Signed,

Upset


Answer:

DearĀ Upset:

In most situations employers are not required to give warnings, especially if the reason for firing is serious. If your organization has a progressive discipline policy, warnings are usually part of that process. But even then the steps can be skipped for serious problems.

In smaller organizations employers can hire and fire as they wish–as long as they don’t violate any laws or regulations of the government. If you feel there have been violations of law, you should check on that with an attorney or with the government agency regulating the issues involved. (If there was illegal bias, if a different process should have been used, etc.)

Often an employee who is fired on the spot or fired without a long series of warnings and counselings, has had several issues of one kind or another and the “last straw” was the most recent situation. (Sometimes employees seem to not realize they were in that situation, which is why it’s so important to have open communication in both directions.)

Or, the employee and a manager have had conflicts anyway and the actions by the employee gave the manager the excuse he was looking for to fire the person. Unless the deed has already been done, you might want to try appealing to the willingness of your employer to let you have another chance. If you do that, state what you will do to ensure the problem situation doesn’t happen again–then stick with that.

Or, if there is someone higher in the company to talk to, ask to do so and explain the situation.

It might be this is already a done deal. I’m sorry for that! Hopefully you will be able to learn from the situation in some way and no matter how fair or unfair it was, move forward to something even better.

Best wishes!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.