If you have ever been in a position where you have had to discharge an employee, you know how uncomfortable it can sometimes be – especially if they have a reputation for being argumentative and disruptive in the workplace. Our experience in helping clients with potentially difficult terminations has lead us to put together a check-list of sorts to help increase the personal safety of our clients and our protection professionals who participate in the actual termination or are assigned to post-termination protection.
If there is the slightest chance of the employee becoming abusive or getting physically violent, ask yourself these questions to help you determine imminent risk, areas of vulnerability and potential liability:
- Does the employee have a history of violence?
- Are there any rumors of alcohol or drug abuse?
- Has the employee talked about having guns?
- Does the employee have a concealed carry permit?
- Has the employee ever made threats of retaliation?
- Will the employee accept the responsibility for the loss of his job, or will he blame someone or the company?
- After the termination, who will the employee be most mad at?
- How easy would it be to sneak back into the building?
- If the employee files for unemployment, will the company contest it?
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, you might want to rethink your normal termination process and call CIC for assistance.
If post-termination protection should become necessary, be prepared to provide the investigator:
- Physical description
- Photograph if available
- Vehicle description
- Home address
- Local hangouts, relatives or friends
Remember, once the documentation has been reviewed and the decision has been made to terminate, the termination meeting should be just that: it is not a forum for the employee to plead his case or air his grievances. It is the role of Human Resources to present the facts of the separation and to provide information about the employee’s salary and benefits. Stick to your “script” and present only the facts.
If you suspect that an upcoming termination is going to prove difficult, don’t go it alone. CIC can help. When we are called on to assist, for your protection and for ours, one of the first things we will do is to run a background check on the individual to determine if there is a record of violence or drug use. Remember, you don’t get any “do-overs” so you can never be too careful!
Watch for next month’s newsletter where we will review precautions to take for those who are often the first point of contact for your organizations – the Receptionist or “Gatekeeper”.
Steve Cotner is President of Corporate Intelligence Consultants. For more information about Workplace Violence prevention training, or general Security Management services, please contact Steve at 1.800.573.2201 / 419.874.2201.