Firing employees can be a sticky business -- and one that most leaders would hope to avoid at all costs (unless you’re Barbara Corcoran).

Dismissals themselves can backfire and lead to cost-prohibitive and stress-inducing legal clashes. That’s why it’s crucial to have your bases covered from the outset.

The infographic below, compiled by Louisville, Ky.-based social media marketing company NowSourcing, breaks down how to fire underperformers -- without being sued in the process.

From providing ample warning to detailing what to say -- and when to say it -- read on for pro-tips that can help to defuse what often amounts to a fraught and trying interaction.

Related: How Hiring and Firing Employees Is Just Like Poker

How to Fire Someone

Related: 4 Secrets to Firing Your First Employee