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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 offemployees can be nerve-wracking. And if you're young, the actof firing an employee-especially one who may remind you of your oldUncle Stanley-can be especially daunting. You may have vividnightmares of the scene of the termination: What if Bob goes crazyand shoots up the joint? What if Brenda cries hysterically? What ifPete sabotages the computer network?

While these may be valid concerns, the fact is that terminationof employees, while almost always painful, is a vital, rejuvenatingpart of business life. Just read the business press, and you'llquickly realize that if you need to lay off some employees,you're not alone. So if you've already tried to fix mattersusing the strategies we suggested in "Restructuring a ProblemCompany,", you have no HR department and you don'thave a security guard hanging around the office, it helps to followin the footsteps of those who have been through it.

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