A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC) at the University of Wyoming.

By Piper LeMoine, WSBDC Office Associate

If employees are not doing the job I hired them to do, can I fire them? Sam, Cheyenne.

First, you must ask yourself some management questions. Have you done what you can to give them the tools and support they need to be successful? Do they understand the job for which they were hired? A good place to start is with a detailed job description. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers information on writing a job description at http://www.sba.gov/managing/growth/jobdescription.html. On their first day, explain the job description and ensure the employees know the demands and responsibilities of the job. If you did not do this when they started, consult the employees and confirm they understand the job and your expectations of them.

Do the employees have the training necessary to do the job well? If new employees are not trained in the important aspects of the job, it will be an endless source of frustration for you and for them! No one likes to have a job they do not know how to do.

So, what if they have the information and the training they need, and are still not performing as well as expected? Personal issues or other circumstances may be interfering with their job. Again, you can check with the employees and see what the problem is, and if there is a reasonable way that you can help.

If you have done all you can to be a good manager and the employee is still not doing what you expect, then the only remaining option is termination. According to the State of Wyoming Department of Labor, an employer has the right to fire employees “at will” at any time and for any reason, as long as the reason does not involve the employee’s membership in a protected class (i.e., age, race, religion, creed, sex, etc.).

The SBA Web site offers information on effective termination techniques at


The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question call 1 800 348 5194, (307) 766 3505, e mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write Dept. 3922, 1000 East University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071 3922. Additional help is available at the WSBDC Web page, www.uwyo.edu/sbdc

Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004

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