We find it's always better to fire people on a Friday

As we all learned from Office Space, "studies have statistically shown that there's less chance of an incident if you do it at the end of the week."

I have also heard that Mondays are better, because it allows the former employee to immediately start looking for new work, and theoretically cuts down on the individuals from stewing over their job loss during the weekend, hopefully resulting in less incidences of retaliatory violence.

Has there been any study that shows real benefits to terminating an employee's job on a particular day of the week?

Edit - to clarify the terminology, I am referring to any form of termination of employment, and not specifically "termination for cause", which is a common interpretation of the term "fired" (but not the only one).

  • 2
    +1 for an engaging/entertaining/relevant picture. -1 for a stupid or clearly-fictional source (i.e. "Office Space"). Not -1 for being a real-world problem (if you're HR). Net result: 0 votes.
    – ChrisW
    Jun 17, 2011 at 4:01
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    @ChrisW would it have helped to reference the personal anecdotes (all layoffs at my various jobs have occurred on Fridays, usually at the end of the day), blogs, and about.com discussions discussing the "ideal day"? I thought "Office Space" was the strongest reference of the 4.
    – Beofett
    Jun 17, 2011 at 12:12
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    @user so you gave me a -1 because you failed to recognize a (humorous) pop culture reference? Shouldn't you be voting on the actual quality of the question? This is rather like downvoting for someone using line breaks instead of bullet points.
    – Beofett
    Aug 8, 2011 at 1:21
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    @user you are entitled to your opinion. I am sorry you had trouble understanding the wording of the question, although I have to admit I am having a lot of trouble understanding what the specific issues you have with it are (aside from not recognizing the picture). If you have specific recommendations for improving the question, I'd be open to hearing them. As for your apparent claim that it can't be answered, I thought the answer below was quite good. As I said, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, however. Thanks for your feedback.
    – Beofett
    Aug 8, 2011 at 12:14
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    @user if you really believe that snippet from a quote from one of the references summarizes the whole answer, then that would explain your many other points of confusion.
    – Beofett
    Aug 8, 2011 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


The most studied article I've seen on the matter comes from USC School of Library and Information Science: Termination 101

What Time Is Best?

Many managers have preferences about when and how to terminate employment. Some managers say Thursday is the best day to fire an employee, so that the other employees will have a chance to discuss the matter on Friday and come in ready for work the following Monday (Butcher). Many managers believe that Mondays and Fridays should be avoided (Ward). The time of year should also be considered when making the decision to fire. Terminating and employee right before a holiday, such as Christmas, is not only ethically disturbing, but may make that employee more likely to file a lawsuit against the organization (Ward). Many times, employers fire employees either very early or very late in the day so that the individual will have time to gather his or her things out of the sight of other employees. In truth, there is no correct time to fire an employee. Instead, the manager should be practical, picking a day and time when everyone concerned is able to meet (Rubin).

The article references numerous publications from business and management journals and magazines, some of which are peer reviewed. Still, of these publications, I haven't seen any studies done which attempt to correlate incidents of law suits and/or violence with the day an employee was fired. Responses tend to be based on reasoning and management experience.

I'm pretty interested in this, so I'll keep looking and edit the response if I find any statistically based studies.

Edit: Success!

A Descriptive Analysis of Layoffs in Large U.S. Firms Using Archival Data over Three Decades, Cornell University, 8/29/2005 - Analyzed day of the week by decade and found that

in all decades Friday is the most common day for an announced layoff, and Monday is less important over time.

Most common layoff day of week by decade.

Workplace Shootings, US Bureau of Labour Statistics, July 2010 - Good resource for occupational homicide statistics, but none of the selected characteristics include the circumstances of termination.

  • 3
    Holy relevant charts, Batman! +1
    – erekalper
    Jun 17, 2011 at 4:02
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    It would be interesting to know the reason(s) why Monday is dropping (e.g., could it be that there's less time on Mondays for managers due to factors like more eMail building up over weekends?). Jun 17, 2011 at 8:32
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    <tongue-in-cheek> The reason that Monday terminations are decreasing is that they've already been let go on the previous Friday. </tongue-in-cheek>
    – oosterwal
    Sep 22, 2011 at 18:01

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