The Unpleasant Task of Terminating a Nail Tech

Firing an associate is never an easy task, especially if the employee is a friend of yours or someone who’s been working with you for quite some time. But, sometimes it’s necessary to do so. What a difficult conversation to start! There is a certain way you should start and end the conversation and to protect yourself in the future, you may want to have a termination policy in place. Are you having to fire a nail tech but aren’t sure how to fire someone?

For Just Cause

This means you have a valid reason for firing your employee. Hopefully you don’t have to deal with any of these reasons but you have a just cause for firing an employee if they:

  • Steal
  • Use drugs
  • Drink on the job
  • Are belligerent to clients and coworkers
  • Bad-mouthing the salon or salon owner
  • Have personality issues or ethical concerns
  • Break any terms of employment.
  • Depending on the severity, you could terminate immediately or give out a warning. 

Wrongful Dismissal

Under today’s labor laws, you cannot fire an employee based on:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Refusal to commit an illegal act

What You Can Do as a Manager

As a salon manager, it is your job to have a specific job description for each of your employees and a handbook of salon rules and guidelines is a great option for extra protection. You should also have regular performance reviews, staff meetings, provide the necessary tools and training for the job and more. If you start having problems with an employee, talk to them one-on-one. Outline the problem and how it can be managed or fixed. If it isn’t fixed, have another meeting but write up the problem and the performance review, have he or she sign it and keep it in their employee folder.

If you have done everything in your power to make it work and it just isn’t and the employee is not upholding their part of any employment agreement and their responsibilities such as attendance or competency, it is okay to terminate them. But, now what?

How to Properly Fire a Nail Tech

Prepare your conversation. Don’t go into the meeting blindly. Hopefully you haven’t had much practice with this so you’ll need to prepare. Rehearse your comments and mentally prepare yourself for their reactions.

Be clear. Clarify why you are firing her and be clear about the reasons. That’s why documenting past issues with this employee can help protect you. Plus, you don't want to give them the impression that you will change your mind.

Confidentiality. You’re the salon manager so be professional. Don’t talk about this incident or past incidents to other employees until AFTER they are gone.

Don’t delay. If you know it’s not the right fit, don’t wait a couple days or weeks. Do the deed!

Use caution. Handling this issue poorly could result in an ugly lawsuit for wrongful dismissal.  

Avoid talking about anything personal. Stick to her work ethic and how she is at work, not who she is.

Having a witness doesn’t hurt. Maybe you have an assistant manager at your salon. Have him or her present as a witness to the events that really occurred.

Decide “how” they should leave. Depending on the employee and their attitude at the time of termination, you have to let them know “how” they should leave. Will you allow them to finish up their work, pack up their belongings and say goodbye to everyone? Or is quiet and quick the way to go? You’ll have to decide that based on their emotional state.