Q: Reductions in force (RIF) /lay-offs seem to be a regular part of today’s business world. I would like to develop a checklist/guideline to help consistently and appropriately address security items and concerns generally associated with these types of events.
A: It does seem that there are more employment reductions in force than ever before, thus enhancing the opportunity for a potential security issue to surface during an involuntary separation of employment. I would encourage you to develop a checklist/guideline that addresses all employment separations -- both involuntary and voluntary. While there are common recommendations for these situations, your specific guideline and process should be unique to your company. Local law, contractual agreements, industry regulations, and company posture will all impact what your security guidelines should contain.
First and foremost, whatever guideline that is developed must support your company's policies and procedures regarding this topic; it is very important to have the support of Business Operations, Human Resource and Legal departments. Your objective is to support and facilitate a safe and secure transition for the company, the soon to be terminated employee(s) and the employees who remain.
Consider implementing the following processes:
• Collect and cancel all company issued credit cards.
• Collect company owned equipment to include computers.
• Collect, cancel or change all access privileges.
• Collect all company owned/leased vehicles and related accessories.
• Upon notice of the voluntary separation of an employee, immediately assess whether the individual poses a business risk.
• Notify security or senior management if the employee being involuntarily separated poses a potential physical threat or business risk.
• Offer Employee Assistance Program benefits, if appropriate.
• Address any outstanding compensation or debts.
• Have a clear understanding of how a separated employee's personal belongings are to be handled.
• Develop a company position and standard policy regarding exiting employees from company facilities.
• Develop a standard announcement for changes in personnel after voluntary or involuntary separations.
A well thought out and company supported employee separation security guideline/checklist will benefit all involved; helping to provide the training and direction to whomever the duties of notification and separation fall upon. While a checklist is not fool proof and may not prevent or address all potential security concerns associated with these types of events, it should certainly aid with consistency of process and program application. However or whatever you do; remember the phrase “Discharge with dignity.” It will serve you well.
Answer provided by Ken Kasten, Security Executive Council Emeritus Faculty member.
Editor’s Note: Guidelines provided by Council Faculty should not be construed as a means to establish any legal standard of care or identify what reasonably prudent security precautions should be taken in any specific situation. The actions to be taken for individual situations will vary depending on the corporate culture and individual circumstances at the time.
Please visit the Security Executive Council's website to see additional details on the processes mentioned above.