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Cutting Loose: Some precautions to take when terminating disloyal personnel

There are times when most businesses face the prospect of terminating a disloyal employee. The reasons can run the gamut, but when the moment for dismissal comes, it is essential to be deliberate and prepared. Here are some steps you can take to help the process go more smoothly.

First, handle the wayward employee in a way that does not alert him or her that you are aware of the loyalty issue. Fundamental to this is limiting discussions within the company to a strict “need to know” basis. Word of a pending firing can spread like the plague, and foreknowledge might enable the employee to take steps to mitigate the company’s position.

Second, do not terminate someone over the phone unless there is no other alternative. Doing so can give the former employee opportunities to continue an illicit scheme, undermine the firing process, or derail your efforts to seek legal recovery for damages. These might include duplicating proprietary information, copying keys, and deleting objectionable content from phones and laptops. In one case worked by ResultQuest, an employee fired over the phone even kept a company vehicle for several weeks while valuable resources were expended to locate and recover it.

Third, maintain dual control (two or more company representatives) at all times during the termination process. Provide an escort – including a licensed security professional if warranted – to the place of the meeting. Following the termination, the ex-employee should be carefully monitored by representatives as all company property is collected, using a list prepared in advance. Be on guard against any attempts to destroy or remove evidence, such as text messages, documents, or flash drives. Do not allow any personal property to be removed without close inspection. Make advance arrangements for monitored collection of any company property located off-site. Dual control also minimizes the likelihood of claims of improper acts by company representatives.

Fourth, arrange beforehand for cancellation of all electronic systems access shortly before or during the termination meeting. Replace padlocks, and have locksmiths on standby to rekey any doors, through which the employee had access to any sensitive or valuable items.

Finally, prepare an inventory of any personal items taken from the premises and have the employee and a company representative sign and date it. Instruct the employee to also execute a signed acknowledgment of termination. If they refuse, so indicate and have company representatives sign. Escort the individual from the premises and observe as they depart.

The professionals of ResultQuest are regularly called upon to assist when companies face the difficult task of terminating employees who have betrayed their trust.   Call us at 713/781-9040 for guidance before, during, or after the termination. We will help you to make the best of a bad situation.