Fast Guard

Businesses of all sizes have a responsibility to put safe employee termination procedures in place. One only needs to remember the terrible incident in Aurora, IL in February of 2019, when a long-term employee reacted to the news of being fired by pulling out a gun and killing three people to understand the potential for tragedy.

The risk of violence occurring during a job termination is very real, making the need for staunch employee termination security procedures essential.

Employee Termination Security Procedures: What to consider

  •     Risk assessments

Risk assessments

Every employee termination should be preceded by a thorough risk assessment that should include the following:

      Determine if the individual has a history of violence or making threats. These people will automatically represent a higher risk and therefore the most stringent of procedures should apply.

      Any employee who’s filed a grievance (verbal or written) would again provide a red flag. The same applies to those who’ve filed lawsuits. Multiple studies have shown that such individuals are more likely to perform future acts of violence.

      Those who’ve expressed delusional or unfounded behaviors, such as colleagues being ‘out to get them’ also represent a higher likelihood of carrying out acts of violence.

      Determining those who might be under excessive personal strain, such as financial difficulties, relationship breakdowns, or any other circumstances that cause high levels of stress.

      The length of time an employee has been in service to the company may mean they represent a higher risk than those who are relatively new. This is because of the value the person attaches to their role and the perceived level of loyalty they feel the company should have towards them.

Even if an employee raises no red flags it’s still necessary for companies to follow strict employee termination security procedures.

Six Steps to a Safe Procedure

  1.     Involve security services in the planning and execution of the termination: In most cases, the actual termination is known about in advance. This allows for the formation of a strategic plan. Security can mitigate risk, putting in place an effective exit strategy. This should include training in active shooter incidents, and having a leader or tactical response officer who will, should an incident occur, take the commanding role in the first vital minutes before law enforcement arrives.
  2.     Security procedures begin from the moment the worker enters the premises: Pay particular attention to any attempt to bring a weapon into the workplace. Escort the person to the location where the news will be delivered. Don’t belabor the procedure, but don’t rush either. Taking time allows for effective monitoring of a person’s emotional state and appropriate action to be taken.
  3.     Safety is the primary concern: This might mean security watching while a person packs their desk. It might also mean that this is, instead, carried out by co-workers and possessions forwarded on, instead of allowing the individual back into the general office area.
  4.     Escort the person offsite: Don’t abandon the procedure at the entrance to the building. The person could have a weapon in their car or even use the vehicle itself to cause harm. If this is a reasonable concern then send them away by taxi and make arrangements for picking up the car at a later time.
  5.     Use trusted, experienced security staff: Security guards should have proven abilities in handling such potentially volatile situations. Unnecessary confrontation or humiliation at such a sensitive time can cause a situation to escalate, making it imperative that the security staff are experienced in handling such incidents.
  6.     Consider bespoke strategies for those considered high risk: This could include carrying out the termination offsite, soliciting help from local law enforcement, having plain-clothed security officers at close hand and that they remain onsite for a period post-termination to deal with any attempt to return.

Use Proven Expertise to Deal With High-Risk Employee Termination Security Procedures

The key message when carrying out high-risk firings is that of safety at all times. Dealing with such a task warrants specific procedures, and companies and managers have a duty of care to everyone on site that full due diligence is carried out. 

Global security company, Fast Guard Service, offers bespoke high-risk employee termination services that include employee investigations, escorting, a termination checklist, and active shooter training and response.