When Carol Bartz was fired as chief executive of Yahoo, she made sure everyone in the company knew how the news was delivered.
That evening, sitting in a hotel room in New York, where she was due to speak at a conference the following day, she sent off an email to Yahoo's 14,000 employees.
"To all, I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's chairman of the board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward, Carol," it read.
The ensuing headlines said it all: telling someone they are fired over the phone is not the best way to break the news. But it is just one faux pas in a long list of "don'ts" when it comes to letting staff go.
"Only recently I encountered a man who was made redundant, but requested to work the full three-month notice period," says Mandy Smith, a corporate training consultant who teaches at Eton Institute in Dubai.
"At the end of this three-month period his manager asked him to continue with the company for an additional three months."
In another case, this time in the UK, an employee was sacked via their social network site by a manager who scrawled "don't bother coming back" on their Facebook wall.
The employee had called in sick, and then had not only posted pictures of herself that afternoon frolicking at the beach, but had also written less than complimentary things about both her boss and her company on Facebook.
What she hadn't taken into consideration was that she had befriended her boss, who took offence and reacted the way he did," says Toby Simpson, the managing director at the Gulf Recruitment Group in Dubai. But how should someone be told he or she is about to be fired? The news should never come as a surprise, for a start. The employee should already sense their job is in jeopardy, says Ms Smith. "They should have previously received feedback that they are not meeting expectations," she says.
Still, it should come from a manager in a brief 15-minute meeting, and the bad news should be delivered within the first five minutes.
"Specify the reasons clearly, but avoid long drawn out explanations justifying the decision, (which) may confuse people," says Ms Smith.
Details of the termination date, severance pay and final salary should be discussed and given to the employee in writing. And bosses should always thank the employee for their contribution.
Managers should keep control of the meeting, but let the employee vent if necessary. And bosses should never give false hope or pass the buck, says Ms Smith.
UAE law is very clear when it comes to termination of contracts, says Mr Simpson.
"In general, employees are dismissed under 'failure to carry out basic duties as stated in their contract', but not only must the duties be actually stated in a contract, the employer should already have given a written performance warning beforehand."
Technically the only time employees can be dismissed on the spot is for offences including fraud, causation of a substantial financial loss, convicted criminal behaviour, intoxication, assault or persistent absences.
"If the dismissal is performance related then make sure that you issue a written warning giving the employee a reasonable amount of time to turn it around, but if it is for something more serious then the issue should be communicated both in person and in writing explaining the dismissal," Mr Simpson says.
If in doubt, the employer should contact the Ministry of Labour, which provides guidance and support, he says.