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How to Lay Off Employees

The old adage "It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it" couldn't be more true when it comes to laying off employees. Here's how to do it properly.

This story appears in the October 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

For many entrepreneurs, the thought of having to lay off employees can be nerve-wracking. And if you're young, the act of firing an employee-especially one who may remind you of your old Uncle Stanley-can be especially daunting. You may have vivid nightmares of the scene of the termination: What if Bob goes crazy and shoots up the joint? What if Brenda cries hysterically? What if Pete sabotages the computer network?

While these may be valid concerns, the fact is that termination of employees, while almost always painful, is a vital, rejuvenating part of business life. Just read the business press, and you'll quickly realize that if you need to lay off some employees, you're not alone. So if you've already tried to fix matters using the strategies we suggested in "Restructuring a Problem Company,", you have no HR department and you don't have a security guard hanging around the office, it helps to follow in the footsteps of those who have been through it.

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