Nobody likes to have an employee leave on bad terms — but it’s bound to happen eventually in every company.
When it does, you need to take swift action to protect your proprietary information. The sooner you involve your information technology (IT) department, the better. IT security can be your best defense against an employee who is determined to retaliate by taking or leaking your information to competitors or others.
Follow IT protocol when terminating employees
As unpleasant as it seems, there are some definite steps you need to take to protect your company’s interests against vindictive employees:
- Give IT advance notice. It should be company policy that IT needs to be notified (along with any other relevant actor) when an employee is about to be fired. An IT security person should be among the first, so that they can begin investigating and documenting all of that employee’s access to sensitive electronic data.
- IT security should act during the termination process. Once the termination meeting begins with your employee, the IT security team should already be in action, changing passcodes or otherwise locking the employee out of any company computers, phones and mobile devices.
- Access to IT information should be revoked. This should happen immediately upon termination. This allows you to both preserve any electronic records you may need and stop the employee from covertly downloading private information — or destroying data.
- Ask the employee to immediately return all mobile devices. Those should be collected before the employee leaves the office, if at all possible.
Remember, you never really know when an employee — especially one that is angry or disgruntled — will try to damage your interests or claim discrimination. Acting quickly to preserve your electronic records, communications and sensitive data is a must.