When Employees Leave

Here is a scary thought:

According to research, 59% of employees who leave will steal proprietary data, 20% will sell passwords to an outsider and 44% will do so for $1,000.

If you don’t already have a employee termination checklist, consider this the perfect start for that list:

  1. Cancel the employee’s accounts.  Now that companies are using a lot of cloud services, it is no longer sufficient to just cancel their Windows domain account or Google account.  Think Dropbox and Slack and a hundred other services.
  2. Disable the employees access badge.  This seems like a duh, but people sometimes forget.
  3. Remove people from any lists that a third party has.  If the person was authorized to call a vendor and make something happen, make sure that they are removed from ALL of those lists.
  4. Check system and building logs for the three months prior to the employee leaving for unusual activity.  That includes the logs for cloud services.
  5. Conduct an exit interview.  While you can’t force someone to do that, most people will and you might get some useful information.
  6. If the person is being terminated, document this contemporaneously in the employee’s personnel file.  These people are the most likely to sue and the most likely to steal data.  If the person had an idea that this was coming, see #4 above.
  7. If the person is being laid off, they are less likely to sue than if they are being fired, but equally likely to steal data.  See number 6 above, then number 4.
  8. Remind people that they still have to comply with any confidentiality agreements that they signed (they did sign one, right?).  Just because they are leaving for any reason does not remove the responsibility to keep confidential stuff confidential.
  9. Make sure that you pay the person what they are owned.  Every state has different rules, but sometimes if you fire someone you have to get them their check at that moment.  Not the next day or the next pay period.  That alone can give someone the right to sue you.   Make sure you give people back their possessions and collect all company property.   Even if you don’t get company property back, in most states you cannot withhold their paycheck.
  10. Make sure that the company and all employees don’t disclose confidential information about the departing employee.  Doing so can leave the company open to lawsuits.

Finally, if you have any questions, consult a knowledgeable attorney.

As you read this list, think about what you can and can’t do today and then fix it.  For example if you fired Joe tomorrow, do you know ALL (yes, ALL) of the accounts that he has access to.  That is just an example.

While this list is not complete, it is a good start.  Create your list now if you don’t have one or update your list if you do.  Then see if it needs to be updated periodically.

Information for this post came from the New Orleans City Business blog

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