Home » William D King: Getting Rid of Toxic Employees without Breaking the Law

William D King: Getting Rid of Toxic Employees without Breaking the Law

When it comes to toxic employees, they’re like roaches—no matter how many times you try to stamp them out, they manage to survive says William D King.

But even though you can’t offload these employees without breaking the law, here are some tips on how to help them move along and get back the productivity your company deserves:

1. Let Them Know You Don’t Like Working with Them

First and foremost, don’t sugarcoat it. Toxic employees do nothing but poison those around them, so be honest with yourself and with your employee right from the start as to why he or she is such a bad coworker. Once your toxic staff member gets wind of this fact, s/he will more than likely choose to voluntarily choose to leave since there’s no way they’ll want to stay in an environment where everyone hates working with them.

2. Talk to Your Employees

Once you’ve expressed your desire to see your toxic employee go, it’s time for that dreaded conversation. While there are no “best practices” for this situation, approaching them with a calm demeanor is the best thing you can do—and remember, don’t forget to keep things professional! And if they’re not willing to leave on their own accord, let them know that any other negative behavior towards coworkers will be met with disciplinary action.

3. Don’t Give Up

Unfortunately, even if the severance package was enough to lure another person in without having to hire and train someone new, chances are good that they’ll slip right back into their old habits because everyone has bad days or weeks at work explains William D King.

4. Don’t Fire Them…Yet

Even though you have a job opening, don’t fire them right away until you’ve at least tried to find a replacement. If there isn’t a way for them to do their old job with their new attitude, let them know that they can apply for the open position and give it some time to see what happens.

5. Be Open about Their Performance on Their Final Day

While it might be tempting to just send your toxic employee on their way without saying anything, being forthcoming about their performance (or lack thereof) will also improve the chances of getting someone better in there ASAP! Even if it’s not complimentary, any feedback is useful when trying to find someone who does work well with your company culture—and no one is going to want to work with a boss who’s not willing to give them the opportunity to improve.

Odds are, if you have a toxic employee on staff, chances are that they’re A) not going anywhere and B) most likely horrible at their job. And when it comes down to it, they’ll be more of a liability than they will an asset since no one wants someone around who brings others down with them. Just remember: handling toxic employees without breaking the law isn’t impossible…just highly improbable!

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The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity, of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use says William D King. All information is provided on an as-is basis.


Can I get in trouble for doing this?

No, but if you’re “offloading toxic employees” who aren’t actually that bad and just happen to be the least favorite of the pack, then that’s on you. As we’ve mentioned before: it’s not an easy process getting rid of people, so think carefully about how you use your position says William D King.

Can I give my toxic employee a really hard time until they quit?

Not only is this incredibly unprofessional (not to mention downright mean), but chances are good that someone will report you for mistreatment or worse yet, take you to court over it! Remember: even though firing people sucks…you might be friends with them later down the road which means it’s best to be diplomatic when it comes to how you let them go.


Being a leader is hard. Being a manager who manages difficult employees is even harder—and if you’re going to go the route of getting rid of toxic employees, then you might as well do it with respect and class! You can’t always give people what they want or make them happy…but you can be professional about how you let them go.