How to prevent employee termination blowback

by Lynnea Bylund on August 15, 2012

Diane Perusse Fries e-Bookkeeping

An employee  job termination is always uncomfortable, whether it’s for good cause or due to a business downturn. Workers who are fired or laid off often have bad misgivings about your business and some may act out their emotion in hurtful or violent ways, attempting to sabotage your company.

Here are seven key steps that you can take to keep your business safe from serious damage caused by former employees.

Source: Diane Perusse Fries

1. Before taking any action, discuss your plans with supervisors. Act quickly to avoid starting the rumor mill and giving employees time to think about ways to sabotage. And consult a labor attorney to discuss the issues.

2. Notify your security manager after employees have worked their last shifts – but before they return to work to receive news of the termination. (If you don’t have a security officer, consider hiring an outside firm to help in the termination process.) Plan to bar the employees’ access to the building when the termination interview starts, and deactivate any security codes the employees may have to the building.

3. Have your network administrator (with the help of supervisors) determine every computer system the employees can access and deactivate passwords. Common types of computer access include:   

  • Company intranets
  • Customer lists
  • E-mail lists
  • Company communications and library
  • HR systems involving benefits and job postings
  • Databases used on the job

4. Keep each termination interview private and compassionate. Avoid embarrassing ex-employees and assure them the details will be kept private.

5. During the termination interview ask for all company-related ID cards. Make sure employees return such equipment as cell phones and laptop computers.

6. Ask the security officer to accompany former employees to a private waiting room to pick up their belongings. Do not let employees back into their work areas. You may be tempted to just escort them right to the reception area or parking lot, but this could be humiliating. Keep the entire procedure as private as possible.

7. Have a supervisor or security officer discreetly pack an employee’s personal belongings and bring them to the waiting room. Verify that nothing is forgotten or missing. Have the person escorted to the parking lot and remove any vehicle stickers that allow entry into the parking lot or garage.

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