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Family Business Decision Making Fairness Terminations

I am going to fire my brother-in-law. He is in a senior position and is way over his head. We have spoken about the situation often, and there are no viable positions for him here. I am not worried about how he will handle the termination, but I fear that his wife, my sister, will be very upset. How do I deal with her?

Since a family business is not typically a family picnic, you need to base your decisions on business matters and not family matters. If you are doing the seating chart for a family reunion, that is the time to be thinking about the reactions of siblings, in-laws, and cousins. In the present situation, you need to think about what is best for your business and a struggling employee.

If this individual is not performing up to par and has been given appropriate feedback, guidance, and coaching, and if there are no suitable alternative positions for him in the firm, then you should handle this as you would for any other individual in a similar situation. This means a fair severance package and some outplacement support to help him make the transition to a more suitable position.

As for your sister's reaction, it is important to note that if your brother-in-law is truly over his head and realizes it, he cannot be the most pleasant person to have around the house. You may actually be doing them both a favor by helping him get into a work situation that suits him better.

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