What’s your Termination policy?

March 5, 2013


Most companies, especially smaller ones, don’t have any set in stone policies or procedures on how to terminate someone. They do have these items that tell them why and when an employee must be termed, but none that say how or how to keep themselves safe from WPV.

When I started in the security field more than 30 years ago, even in a union environment, there wasn’t the need to have termination procedures written down. At least not in the detail they have to be now.

If you determined that there was a need to terminate someone, you ensured that there was proper documentation, especially in an unionized plant, and then you called them into the office. And it could have been the Personnel Manager’s office or a conference room. At that point, you told them the why’s and wherefores’ and that was it, they left. Occasionally someone had to be escorted out of the building, but those instances were rare. And you never ever worried about them coming back to start shooting and injuring people.

Times have changed a great deal. The world is a much more dangerous place than it was 30 years ago, even if the Soviet Union is no longer a threat. There are as many if not more threats from Muslim extremists and your own employees!

So when formulating a termination policy and procedure what do you need to look for? I will refer to the old journalism phrase I learned in high school, the 5 W’s and H. If you can answer in concise and complete form those questions, then you should have a policy/procedure that will be effective and safe for you and your company.

I suppose I’ll tell you what the 5 W’s and H are, especially those of you who have never taken a journalism class in the ‘stone age’. The 5 W’s and H are the 6 items you need to answer when writing your story/article. They are, in correct form, Who, What, When, Why, Where, & How. Answer these questions when writing anything and you can almost always rest assured to get an A or at least a readable policy. And if you write it properly, then it will be at an 8th grade level. And unfortunately, some people will be offended, but for everyone to understand it you have to write ‘down’ to everyone’s level.

So utilizing these 6 thoughts lets go thru them; Who – We should already know who we’re firing. But who else will be in the room with you or as a back-up if you need it. An idea is to call in extra security if necessary. Another thing to think about with who is who will actually conduct the firing? And that brings up a whole other set of questions.

What – Equally as simple. You’re terming someone, ‘nuff said!

When – When are you going to term them? Wait until they arrive for work or call them and tell them to come to the main office at a certain time? Or possibly after their shift is over?

Where – I’ve seen people fired in every sort of place you can imagine. From one end of an open break room to a personnel office to a large conference room. I’ve also termed people outside while having a cigarette!

Why – This should already to known, in totality. Have your documentation in hand and ready to show them.

How – Are you going to be blunt and direct? Possibly apologetic and empathetic? This depends a lot on your corporate culture and how upset you are as well as the emotions of the employee being termed.

Lastly, one thing about your company’s legal department, if you’re large enough to have one for yourself, or an on retainer attorney; Most attorneys are there to keep you from being sued or other such liability. They are only concerned with ensuring that the ‘I’s have been dotted and t’s crossed’! They aren’t normally concerned with WPV in this respect. You have to make them understand that WPV is a constant threat even after the termination.

If they are prone to violence, former employees will return within 6 months to commit their rampage. However, there was a case in Phoenix in 2005 where an employee had been fired from Motra Transmission in 2003 and then came back to kill the owner 2 years later! 6 months is the average length of time, it doesn’t happen on a clock or calendar.

These are only a few points to consider. There are many more policies for you to pay attention and write out. Today’s Training is always here to help you in that effort to be safe and stay healthy, both yourself and your business.