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How to Identify and Know When to Fire a Toxic Employee, According to an HR Expert The difference between a difficult team member and a toxic one is often clear — as is when it's time to let them go.

By Amanda Breen Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • Theresa Dear, chief people officer at Vivent Health, says toxic employees are "incessantly dissatisfied."
  • Employees that are impatient and challenging might be difficult to manage — but aren't necessarily toxic.
  • Zero-tolerance policies and probationary periods can help determine when it's time to let someone go.

Nineteen percent of workers say their workplace is very or somewhat toxic, a new survey from the American Psychological Association found.

Leaders can help build a positive company culture, but sometimes it's easier said than done.

What does being "toxic" in a professional setting look like? And what differentiates a toxic employee from one who's merely difficult?

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