Terminating employees sounds straightforward, but it’s a complex process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. This also relates to mass layoffs and unannounced closures.
In fact, it’s a situation that could easily turn violent at that moment or in the near future. That’s why many businesses are employing security firms to help.
Since you never know what may happen, it’s better to prepare for the worst. Having trained security guards on site could prevent a termination from becoming a tragedy.
Locally, just a couple weeks ago, a manager was assaulted by an employee after she was notified of her termination from the company. She also refused to leave the property and continued to try and gain access to the building.
- Identify Potential Problems Before Termination
- Protect Managers During The Process
- Keep Gawkers Out Of The Way
- Ensure Terminated Employees Leave
- Stay On Guard To Prevent Employees From Returning
How much do you know about the employee you’re firing? What if they’re going through numerous hard times or already have a history of misconduct?
For instance, a Northern California Ford dealership employee returned to the dealership with a firearm shortly after being fired. He killed two employees, before committing suicide. In another instance, a 15 year employee killed five people at his place of work in Aurora, Illinois after being laid-off. He also had a history of aggravated felony assault from a different state.
The Society for Human Resource Management lists two examples of how employees may be unstable and require special care during a termination. For example, an employee may be pushed to the edge due to marital problems, prescription addictions and even a home robbery. Another example is an employee struggling to support sick children and becoming suicidal when facing termination.
In fact, workplace homicides account for about 10 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, the most-recent year of available data, 66 people were killed by coworkers.
Security officers are trained to notice things you might miss. They may notice odd interactions that other employees don’t report for fear of what the employee might do them. Talk to your guards and even other employees beforehand to help develop a safer strategy for firing violent or unstable employees.
The usual target of a disgruntled employee is the person firing them. While some employees may come back later, others may lash out immediately. It could be as simple as yelling and throwing office supplies or as bad as physically assaulting someone.
For instance, a manager at a Duluth, GA On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina was stabbed after firing an employee. The truth is, you never know for certain how an employee may react in that moment.
Of course, violence to the manager isn’t the only problem. The fired employee may try to steal something, destroy merchandise, or cause damage to the manager’s personal property, like their car.
The last thing an already stressed employee needs is gawkers. Terminations are embarrassing enough and should be done in private. This doesn’t mean other employees don’t try to watch or listen in.
Security officers can make this time a little less stressful by ensuring anyone who doesn’t need to be involved are kept out of the way. They may clear a hallway to allow the employee to leave without being gawked at, which may help them stay calmer.
Without anyone to escort them out, terminated employees may linger. They may take the opportunity to steal proprietary documents and files, delete information from the system or cause harm to others and/or property.
Unless you’re trained, it’s easy for an employee to get away from you. This is where security officers help. They’re highly trained to deal with these situations professionally and safely.
Not only do they walk them out of the building, but ensure they completely leave the premises.
Business owners and employees have jobs to do. They can’t just sit around watching to see if a terminated employee returns.
A tragic example is the deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward of WDBJ-TV in Virginia. A fellow journalist who had recently been fired shot them both while they were on location doing a report.
Terminated employees don’t always get violent at the moment they’re fired. Instead, they seek out revenge later. In this case, having officers with employees who were likely to be targeted may have helped. For most businesses, employees stay at the office, so you’d want security officers to keep an eye on who comes and goes to prevent fired employees from returning and causing trouble.