How to Terminate a Remote Employee

How to Terminate a Remote Employee

In this post, we are going to focus on how to terminate a remote employee. Advancement in technology has enabled companies to employ staff remotely and minimize operating costs.

However, managing employees from different locations is robust, and when it comes to termination of a remote employee, the process is challenging and complicated.

Organizations are required to treat their employees equally regardless of whether they are working from home or the office. The termination process should, therefore, be similar.

Reasons for Employee Termination

A remote employee may be dismissed on account of the following but not limited to the below reasons:

Reasons for Employee Termination - How to Terminate a Remote Employee
  • Poor performance
    When a particular employee is not delivering as expected of them can be laid off as they are a bad investment to the company.
  • Misconduct
    This could be and not limited to: sexual harassment, bullying, criminal behavior, or unethical conduct, including stealing, fraud, and insider trading, as per the company’s code of conduct. 
  • Violating Company Policy
    Policy varies from company to company, and when you get hired, you get to familiarize yourself with the company policy, and one agrees to adhere to them.
  • Insubordination
    Simply refusing to follow orders or obstruction behavior.
  • Falsifying company records
    This may bring legal constraints to the company.
  • Using company property for personal business
    Constant use of company property for personal gain or profit is not acceptable.  

With the above and diverse reasons, pinpoint a reason for firing the employee and discuss it with the HR to ensure it’s not discriminatory or unlawful.

Before deciding to terminate a remote employee, you need to look into details like work conditions, performance, and impact the employee had to the company.

Then document the offense that has been committed by preparing a chronology and action points that h. Come up with a dismissal summary.

If you dismiss a remote employee without adhering to the set guidelines of the HR manual of the company, you may expose the company to legal tussle. 

Familiarize Yourself with Employee Contract

For starters, both employee and employer can terminate a contract.

Familiarize Yourself with Employee Contract - How to Terminate a Remote Employee

To avoid legal issues, ensure you are in line with what you are supposed to do when a contract ends and necessary procedures. 

As much as a notice period is not compulsory in the US, following the “employment at will” basis. It is also essential to familiarize yourself with the notice period and its applicability to the current situation. Notice can be anywhere between a week and a month.

An employer can fire an employee without notice, if the offense is considered gross misconduct, meaning an offense is so severe that employment cannot continue, for example, theft, fraud, and violence.

Ensure the contract is at your disposal in case you may need to refer during the briefing.

Involve Your Human Resource

The HR personnel should guide you on the process and approach to ensure that you meet the company policy and legal standards. 

1. Calculate over dues owed 

Depending on the employee contract and time of the month, calculate the salary on pro-rata, taking into consideration all the bonuses, benefits, and allowances. 

Other companies may forfeit some allowances or benefits because of misconduct.

An employee who has damaged company property, the employer may deduct the amount equivalent to the property that was damaged.

2. Make an appointment 

After all have documentation, your HR personnel will plan for a day to carry on with the termination. An Article written by Fast Company recommends that firing ought to be done mid-week and not on Fridays or Monday. This is because the employee will have enough time to handover and start looking for another job. 

Secondly, consider the time that is suitable for both of you. If your employee is in another country, you may not want to terminate them in the middle of the night or early morning.

3. Prepare the Agenda 

After scheduling a meeting, draft the meeting agenda by focusing on the facts and situation. Remember, each word may be used against you for legal redress, so be careful about the words you use.

Prepare the Agenda - How to Terminate a Remote Employee

With the help of your HR, ensure the reason for termination is well elaborated.

4. Come up with a communication plan.

You should conduct this meeting through video conferencing. It allows both of you to understand each other’s body language. Facial relying on harsh communication may arrive softer to the employee.

Come up with a communication plan - How to Terminate a Remote Employee

The organization should avoid firing employees in group video conferencing; instead, and do it individually.

An email should be the last remedy. This is because it doesn’t provide a two-way commutation. Employees may feel disrespected, provoked, or less important and can trigger the employee to negative emotional reactions.

Terminating a remote employee using an email presents risks like a delayed receipt, Email going to the wrong receipt, forgetting to attach relevant documents, and staff deleting the Email. 

You can also invite the employee to your offices if possible.

The employee should be informed of those attending the video conferencing. 

Involve the IT Team

An employee working from home has full access to the company’s database and system. To safeguard the company property from a disgruntled ex-staff, your IT team should be on standby to deactivate any privileges that the employee was enjoying before the announcement.

Involve the IT Team - How to Terminate a Remote Employee

They should also plan on how to return company property if any.

Termination Day

Based on the protocols on how to terminate a remote employee, representatives from different departments or HR should be present during the meeting; one should not be alone.

Termination Day - How to Terminate a Remote Employee

The meeting should be brief – to avoid emotions and bad feelings from the affected employee. It is essential to be straight forward and maintain calmness.

Provide appropriate information to the employee. Discuss the reason for dismissal and be ready to answer any question asked. Please pay attention to what the staff has to say and heed to it for any future occurrence or decision making.

In some instances, the employee may present substantial evidence that may exonerate them from dismissal. This may require you to review and advice back, but if not, ensure they get to understand that your decision is final.

In the meeting, the employer should discuss how the organization’s property would be returned.

The employee is to be informed on when to expect their final dues. 

Send written documentation

After the meeting, the employer is supposed to formally write a letter on Email to the employee for contract termination.

Send written documentation - How to Terminate a Remote Employee

You may also thank the employee for the excellent service without apologizing and wish them well.

Update Your Staffs

On terminating a remote worker, it is important to update your remaining staff and make them understand what may have happened without infringing the terminated staff’s right to confidentiality. By doing this, you avoid high turnover and staff demoralization.

Update Your Staffs - How to Terminate a Remote Employee

Exit Interview

The exit interview should be postponed to two months. Once things have cooled down, you can share a survey on what could be improved or done better. This may give accurate feedback as opposed to an immediate emotional interview.

Exit Interview - How to Terminate a Remote Employee

By following the above recommendations terminating remote staff may be less painful. This may also make the process fair, legal, and make the fired staff comfortable and at peace.


Remote termination is a challenging task, and it can be more complicated if not done right. Employers should, therefore, consult with their HR and legal departments before embarking on any termination to reduce liability risk. 

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