1. Check State and Federal Laws:
Employers in Georgia must be aware of both federal and state laws pertaining to employment termination. This includes workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, wage and hour laws, anti-discrimination policies, labor laws, etc. It’s important for employers to ensure that all applicable laws are being followed when terminating an employee.
2. Create Termination Letter:
It is important to create a termination letter for the employee that includes relevant details such as the effective date, reason for termination, and any references to applicable policies or contracts. This document should be kept on file in case there are any future disputes about the termination.
3. Final Paycheck:
Employers must provide employees with their final paychecks on their last day of employment, with deductions taken out in accordance with state laws and regulations. Employers should also ensure that all accrued vacation or sick leave are included in the final paycheck.
4. Collect Company Property:
Upon terminating an employee, employers must collect any company property that was issued to the employee, including laptops, cell phones and keys. Employers should also take inventory of all company property that needs to be returned.
5. Return COBRA Forms:
If an employee is terminated from their job, they may have the option to continue coverage under their employer-sponsored health insurance plan via the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Employers must provide former employees with a COBRA form that allows them to elect for or waive continued coverage.
6. Issue Relevant Documentation:
Employers must issue any necessary documents such as unemployment claims forms, separation papers, W2s and 1099s, etc., in order to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.
7. Exit Interviews:
Exit interviews are an opportunity for employers to understand why an employee is leaving the organization, and can provide insight into ways to improve processes or policies in the future. Employers should ensure that all exit interviews are conducted in a respectful manner, and that any comments are treated confidentially.
8. Update Records:
Employers must update their records to reflect the terminated employee’s new status, including their date of termination and any applicable benefits.
9. Review Employment Agreements & Policies:
It’s important for employers to review any employment agreements or policies related to the employee’s termination before proceeding with the termination. This includes any applicable non-compete agreements or severance packages that might be included in the contract.
10. Provide References:
In some cases, employers must provide references for terminated employees upon request. It’s important to ensure that all references are accurate and professional, as they may affect the employee’s ability to find future employment.