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Omarosa released a tape of being fired from the White House, and an HR expert says her boss could have done much better

Matt Linden

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On Sunday, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman released a recording which, she said, documented the White House chief of staff John Kelly firing her.

Manigault Newman, typically referred to only by her first name, played the tape on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” She left the White House in December.

All of the details of the interaction aren’t available. Based solely on the recording, Kelly may have gone against typical HR termination protocol, Raleigh, North Carolina-based human resources consultant Laurie Ruettimann told Business Insider.

The tape suggests that Kelly didn’t explicitly state why Manigault Newman was being let go. As he said on the recording:

“It’s come to my attention over the last few months that there’s been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues related to you and use of government vehicles and some other issues … And the issue that you may or may not have a full appreciation for, but I think you do, this would be a pretty high level of accountability.”

“He didn’t communicate the exact reasons she was being let go, so he left open all this ambiguity,” said Reuttimann, who’s been in HR for 23 years.

The better way to fire someone

Employers looking to fire someone need to develop a script and follow it before the termination meeting, Reuttimann said.

As Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz previously reported, the ideal script for firing an employee might look something like this:

“We recognize that you were instrumental in assisting your department with [whatever project]. However, for the last year we’ve attempted to work with you on [whatever skill]. We’ve decided to terminate your employment effective [whenever].”

This message spells out what the employee did right in their role and where they failed. It states that they are being fired, but doesn’t speak to the employee’s future reputation or how the employer will try to sway it.

It’s also smart to have a third person in the room during the termination, preferably someone from HR, Reuttiman said. Otherwise, employees might go away not understanding why they were fired and that their termination stemmed from motivations that didn’t relate to their performance alone.

“When you fire someone, there should be a standard way of doing it, so you can never be accused of having bias or mistreating someone,” Reuttimann told Business Insider.

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