Firing-Discipline Interview

I interviewed Chase Hanssen who works as a manager at a French Bakery up in Northern Utah for this assignment.

What are automatic grounds for termination at your workplace? Insubordination, dishonesty, frequent absences or chronic tardiness, theft or other criminal behavior, sexual harassment, physical violence or threats against other employees are all automatic grounds for termination.

What is the process you use to discipline an employee who is constantly late? We have a policy in which an employee has five verbal warnings, followed by a written warning, followed by suspension. (If there is a sufficient excuse for the tardy we do not punish them for it) If an employee has repeated “no call/no show” offenses, they will be at a very high risk of termination. 

What is the hardest part of discipling an employee and firing an employee for you? I honestly just feel bad when having an intense conversation about discipline or while firing an employee. I especially feel bad when I have a good relationship with the employee. These conversations are never fun but they are needed. The most difficult situations, are when it’s an employee you know has been trying their best but they simply aren’t competent in the role. 

What tactics have you found be effective when disciplining/firing an employee? If you approach a situation in a positive light instead of negative, the response is always more receptive. When an employee is terminated, the final meeting should be in person and the employee should be given documentation and an explanation as to the exact reasons for the termination. If every issue has been documented every step of the way, the employee won’t be able to argue with a wrongful termination lawsuit.

What are good indicators which help you know if your disciplinary actions have been effective or not?

Indicators are measures that demonstrate whether a goal has been achieved. For example, if an employee’s tardiness and absence’s have not decreased the disciplinary actions would not be considered effective.

When you need to discipline an employee, do you have someone else there to help be a mediator? It depends on the situation.. sometimes I have other managers help mediate a disciplinary meeting and other times it’s one-on-one. If the issue is more serious, most times I have another person in the room with me to discuss disciplinary action.

How many “chances” do you give an employee before they are terminated? This totally depends on the offenses the employee commits and how serious it is. For example, if an employee sexually harasses or physically harms another person they are not given any more chances.

What is the main reason why you need to fire an employee? This is a hard question, but I would say it’s a combination of unethical conduct, poor performance, and dishonesty.

After firing an employee how does the workplace change/react to the firing? Depending on the employee, other employees in the workplace could be upset or relieved. There have been times when I have fired an employee who had positive relationships with those they work with and people have come up to me and argued specifically why it wasn’t fair or necessary. You have to use your best judgement and do what’s best for the company instead of giving into peer pressure. 

When a termination needs to happen due to budget issues, how do you choose which employee it will be? I usually approach this situation while budgeting by making a list of employees who have repeated offenses. I make a pro and cons list for each individual. With help from other managers I then narrow the list down to one person. 

This interview was interesting because I was able to learn the reasons why an employee could be fired, how to approach a disciplinary situation, and what areas of concern to look for in employees. I have seen so many examples of people who don’t act appropriately at work (in both managers and fellow employees.) Just last week I had a manager who was suspended because he got into a huge yelling argument with an employee after he made a racial comment. I think it’s important when not in a management position to not be afraid to stand up and voice concerns about disruptive behavior in the workplace- it’s for the benefit of everyone. 

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