Should I tell an employee the real reason I’m firing him? by Alyson Green

I manage employees who start with a three-month probationary period. I have a current probationary employee who has not taken direction well, has acted defensively, has challenged basic instructions about how to do his job, has rolled his eyes when provided with feedback on how to do certain tasks, and, ironically, has also sought me out for instructions in situations where the course of action for him to take should have been immediately obvious.

I intend to hire a replacement and terminate this employee near the end of his probationary period. I would like to give him feedback on the reason for letting him go. From an ethical and professional standpoint, the feedback would be to his benefit, regardless of whether he realizes or appreciates that. And if I do not tell him, I feel he will be more resentful and frustrated and will make uncharitable assumptions as to my reasoning.

My boss, however, does not believe I should disclose any reasoning to the employee, since probationary employees can be let go for any reason, and he feels that my rationale for terminating will inevitably lead to an argument. I believe I should simply outline my rationale and refuse to engage the employee in any debate if he pushes back. How do you think this should be handled?

Read the answer @ Inc.

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