Can You Fire a Rude Employee?


Rude employees often cause managers the most trouble, because attitude is one of the hardest qualities to document and terminating an employees opens up the company to a potential lawsuit. Dismissal is an option with an employee giving you trouble, but most of the time you should deal with this problem in other ways.

Firing the Employee

Most states have at-will employment laws, which means that employees and employers can end employment for any reason at any time. However, you must ensure that you do not have a contract with the employee. Several states, for instance, recognize an implied contract if a manager claims that the employee will only be terminated for a "good reason," such as failing to meet productivity standards. You also have to watch out for potential discrimination. For example, firing a rude employee who has recently returned from military service, could appear discriminatory against servicemen.


Before you fire a rude employee, explore other options that may avoid litigation. For example, you might mention his poor morale during an employee evaluation. You may even find that the employee is rude because of something in your work environment. At the same time, you do not want to let one employee sour your entire company. A rude employee can become a cancer that causes excellent team members to move to another firm, so firing him eliminates the problem quickly.

Handling A Rude Employee

In general, it is better to try to manage a rude or difficult employee than to fire him, according to Cynthia Steele-Pucci of Career Intelligence. Learning to deal with a rude employee adds to your communication skills. Asking a grouchy employee what is wrong usually calms the mood in a work environment, because the employee either lightens up or tells you his problem. If an employee is negative, focusing on his positive points might swing his mood into a positive light and coax him into complimentary comments.


When you feel dissatisfied with an employee, managing him does not work and plan to fire him, start documenting his bad behavior. You do not want to kowtow to an employee just to keep him happy and then fire him on the spot. Mention rude comments in the employee's evaluations and have the employee acknowledge the problem. If there are any other rude employees, do the same, because you must treat every worker the same to avoid a discrimination case. When you actually fire the employee, use words that clearly indicate a termination, such as "fired" or "terminated" and hold the meeting in a neutral place, such as a conference room.

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