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Termination, and why it's OK


The term termination of employment refers to the end of an employee’s work with a company. An employee may be terminated from a job of their own free will or following a decision made by the employer. Employers who execute a termination of employment may do so for a number of reasons, including downsizing, poor job performance, or redundancies.


I think most of us understand this concept, and likely have been at either end of the spectrum. The question your asking is, why is it okay? Well, it's more than okay, it's often necessary. As a Chef, business owner and educator, I struggled with this in my early years. After extensive study and mentorship with some of the top HR directors in Canada, I finally came to the realization, that it really is okay. In fact the benefits can be easily misunderstood. No one likes to be fired, and for most part nobody really enjoys firing someone...unless your some kind of sociopath. Let me give you a few personal examples from my own history.


My first position as a Chef followed my last position in a hotel as a sous chef. Up until this point, most decisions concerning the welfare of an employee were handled by the Executive Chef. At this point in my career employee relations were fairly new to me. The restaurant was in transition, and had only been operating about 6 months. I should also add that the place was stupid busy and very popular. To add insult to injury, the sous chef was leaving in two weeks. The interesting thing about kitchens, chef or not...the employees are going to challenge you. Oddly enough I had signed up for a seminar on advanced kitchen management which was to take place the weekend before I began the job. I gleaned a lot of good information from the weekend seminar, and kept that information close at hand. Here is a little bit of what I learned that weekend.


The reasons you can terminate an employee include poor performance; lack of interest in continuing with a role; lack of skills needed to continue with a role; inappropriate behaviour.

Very rarely you can jump straight to terminating an employee’s contract. Check on the government site which will lay out the dismissal process

Breach of contract – Legal agreement between both parties where the terms of the employment contract have been broken Gross misconduct – Gross misconduct can allow for immediate termination of an employee’s contract but thorough investigation, though and evidence to prove the offence. Low Standards of Work – Poor performance or “capability” or inability in doing your job Fair reasons for dismissals – Continually missing work; late for work or poor discipline Probationary Period – Period when an employee can be dismissed with little or no notice, Redundancy – Ensure you follow your business redundancy procedure.


These are the standards, of course being a seminar we were taught some of the roundabout ways to easily rid yourself of problem employees. Often, in kitchens, there are many. I like to call it the power of the pen. My first week on the job was rough, naturally a little nervous I managed to scorch a 30 L batch of bechemel sauce. I managed to salvage most of it, and kept my head down and stayed focused. In these early stages, the important thing to do, is actually not cook to much. Just observe. I needed a sous chef, and soon. I decided to promote internally, and found my candidate within the first week. A team was being built. Now to figure out who stays and who goes. I am a very open minded and fair person, I would keep them all if I could. Usually the weaker links reveal themselves pretty rapidly. This first one was pretty much like the rest. Let's say his name was Bill. While drafting the schedule for the next week, Bill was so kind as to TELL me what days and hours he was willing to work. Naturally, I scheduled him on the days I needed him, Bill quite. There were a few more of these, and some other behaviors I don't allow in the kitchen. GONE. Now the team was coming together, a few outside hires, a few more promotions, now we can operate like a well oiled machine.


To finish this off, I guess I should give a brief explanation as to why FIRING someone is beneficial to the individual concerned. Clearly they are not invested in the job, and would likely do better elsewhere. You as a manager are just helping to expedite the process. It might seem terrible at the moment, but eventually with gratitude or not, you are doing them a favour.

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Cheers folks, and have a great Monday!



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